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Full text of "Ares Magazine 17 - Mongoose and Cobra"

THE SCIENCE FICTION 



GAMING MAGAZINE 



Number 17 



$6.00 



mmmmoKm 



Mongoose and Cobra, 
A UNIVERSE™ game module 

Sports and Warfare 




■i^miM^H 



£p spi 



Final Issue 



The Expanding Universe of Traveller 

Why do more people play Traveller than any other science fiction role-playing game? 

Because GDW knows that you can't fit the whole universe into one box. 

There are nearly 50 adventures, supplements, rules expansions, games, and modules for Traveller— so far. Each one adds new ideas 

to make your campaign more exciting. Choose just the ones you want— the Traveller universe is as large as you want to make it. 



The Traveller Adventure 



Murder 
on Arcturus Station 



Actually, it's much more than an 
ture: it's a whole series of adven- 
tures making up an integrated cam- 
paign. It's a 160-page, 814x11" 
book filled with enough adventure 
to last for months of play. 

It all starts when the adventurers 
meet Gvoudzon, a Vargr who has a 
stolen treasure: a jeweled brooch 
with a secret message hidden 
within it. Gvoudzon doesn' 
know what the message 
but soon the adventurers 
find that a great many pow- 
erful people are willing to 
kill to get it. Soon " 
party find themselves 
volved in a museur 
burglary, an attack by 
Vargr commandi 
lanthanum smugglt 
bureaucratic intrigues, 
kidnapping, and a full- 
scale megacorporate 



tradewar. Meanwhile, they must try to 
jnake a profit as the crew of a subsidized 
merchant, seeking cargo and patrons 
among the strange worlds and 
stranger inhabitants of the Ara- 
mis subsector: the under- 
ground city of Leedor, the 
n atu re- wo rs h ip ping d i eta - 
torship of Pysadi, 
the eugenic elitists 
of Paya, the alien 
matriarchy of "rehab, 
'Junidy with its co- 
dominium of humans 
r and native "Dandelions", 
and many others. 
Also included is a complete 
character generation system for the 
alien Vargr, plus a wealth of background in- 
formation on the Imperium, the Spinward 
Marches, and the Aramis subsector. 
The Traveller Adventure is the largest Traveller 
project ever undertaken; the equivalent of 6 to 8 
of our other books, it's an amazing bargain at $12. 




A corporate executive has been 
murdered on Station Three of Arcturus 
Belt. It's up to the referee to decide which 
of the nine suspects is guilty. Was it the ex- 
ecutive's estranged wife? His mistress? 
The Solomani rebel? The Asian noble? The 
adventure tells how to construct each of 
the possible crimes: motives, clues, alibis, 
even misleading clues pointing to the 
wrong suspect. 

Then it's up to the adventurers to solve 
the mystery by questioning the suspects, 
discovering clues, and using their powers 
of deduction. But watch out: the murderer 
may strike again. 

Murder on Arcturus Station is a classical 
mystery in the tradition of Agatha Christie 
and Dorothy Sayers — except that it takes 
place in an asteroid belt, one of the 
suspects isn't human, and several of the 
others are possessed of odd cultural quirks. 

At 56 pages. Murder on Arcturus Station 
is longer than most Traveller adventures, 
but it's still only $5. 



Tarsus 



Scouts 



Veterans 



When a game takes in the entire 
universe, it's easy to forget how large and 
complex even a single world can be. 
Traveller boxed modules, of which Tarsus 
is the first, are intended as demonstrations 
of how much scope for adventure one 
planet, described in detail, can provide. 

The 24-page world data book covers the 
world's history, geography, climate, flora 
and fauna, and the myriad other details that 
make this world unique in the universe. 

Five scenario folders deal with a few of 
the possible adventure situations, including 
the maneuvers of various political factions 
and the megacorporation SuSAG, rumors 
of strange events deep in the tanglewald, 
and trouble on the family ranch. Also in- 
cluded are 3 maps and 12 character cards. 

The entire world is available for only $12. 




Traveller Book 6 offers expanded 
treatment of the Scout Service similar to 
Mercenary's and High Guard's expansion 
of the Army and Navy. It describes the 
organization and history of the service, in- 
cluding all its various component offices 
and branches. A detailed character genera- 
tion system offers new skills and makes 
provision for service in all branches of the 
Scout Service. 

In addition, the book contains new rules 
for generating complete planetary systems: 
number, spectral type, and temperature of 
stars, habitable zones, and the number and 
orbits of all the system's planets and their 
moons. Rules for generating factors affec- 
ting a world's climate are also included: 
albedo, orbital eccentricity, average surface 
temperature, axial tilt, and the greenhouse 
effect are all taken into account. 

The new rules are fully compatible with 
the original Traveller world creation rules, 
and systems already generated under the 
original rules may be expanded easily. 

As an example, two complete stellar 
systems are included: Regina and So). 

Price: $6. 



This supplement is a handy aid for the 
referee using Book 4, Mercenary, it con- 
tains over 200 pre-generated Mercenary 
characters from all branches of the Army 
and Marines, ranks from private to colonel, 
and tech levels from 7 to 15. 

Veterans is especially useful when 
players are recruiting a mercenary unit. 
Each character is given a full resume for the 
players to see; information reserved for the 
referee is in a separate section. Price: $5. 



The Journal 

of the Travellers' Aid Society 



The Journal is a quarterly 
magazine crammed with new 
Traveller material. Each issue 
contains two ready-to-play 
scenarios, a description of an 
alien race, and much more. If 
you're serious about Traveller, 
the Journal is for you. 
Issue #18 is now available. Single 
issue: $2.50; subscriptions: $9 
per year in the US and Canada, 
$18 (includes airmail) elsewhere. 




Game Designers' Workshop 

P.O. Box 1646, Bloom ington, Illinois 61702 

Available from better hobby stores around the world or direct from GDW. Free catalog on request. 



— CONTENTS' 



ARES Log 
LETTERS 



MEDIA 7 

Of Writers, Editors, and Horror Stories 

FUN AMONG THE MUTANTS 

James M. Ward 9 

Wreck -creation in the lands of GAMMA WORLD* gaming. 

SWORD IN THE DIRT 

Henry Melton 11 

PANCAKE ALLEY 

Steve Winter 14 

Driving fast and dangerously in CAB WARS'" gaming. 

A FRIENDLY GAME OF HOOPLE 

Timothy Robert Sullivan 16 

MONGOOSE AND COBRA 

Nick Karp 25 

A frontier planet, a lost outpost, and ditalh await UNIVERSE'" characters. 

THE ZAMRA: WEAPON OF THE YAZIRIANS 

William Tracy 41 

A STAR FRONTIERS" game variant. 

FIRE AT WILL! 

Carl Smith 42 

Miniature rules for tin: STAR FRONTIERS KNIGHT HAWKS game. 

THE FEDERATION STRIKES BACK! 

Marvant Duhon 47 

Expanding ilit: DELI -WEE™ game syslem with new ships and pods. 

SWORD AND SORCERY IN SUPERGAME 
Jay Hartlove 53 

Barbarians, battleaves. and comic hook suptnherues meet at last. 

GAMES 

F-'ii-E! liclailed reviews ten- the yarning consumer. 



BOOKS 

Ken Ramsleatl Hips Ihniugli the local bookshelf. 

ERRATA 

A few additions to the NIGHTMARE HOUSE™ game ami the 
Into the Void module fi-nni AHF.S" Magazine « !."> 



x niicctiviii 



55 

fil 
62 




ARES™ Magazine #17 
THE SCIENCE-FICTION 
GAMING MAGAZINE 

Publisher: Michael Cook 
Editor-in-Chief; Kim Mohan 
Editors: Mary Kirchoff S Roger Moore 
Design Director: Kristine Bartyzel 
Fiction Editor: Patrick L Price 
Advertising Dept.; Mary Parkinson 
Subscriptions: Mary Cossman 
Office Manager: Sharon Walton 
Editorial Assistance: Charles Ramsay, 
Georgia Moore 
Graphics: Mitchell O'Connetl, 
Robert Nelson, Dave LaForce 
Production Staff: Marilyn Favaro. 



ihed in ARES Magazine 
e property ol the pub- 
lisher upon publication, unless special 
arrangements tolhe contrary are made prior to 
publication. Unsolicited manuscripts are wel- 
come, but the publisher assumes no responsi- 
bility for them and they will not be returned 
unless accompanied by a stamped, self- 
i envelope of sufficient size and 



ARES is a trademark of TSR. tnc.'s sci- 
ence-fiction gaming magazine All rights on the 
contents of these publications are reserved, 
and nothing may be reproduced from them in 
whole or in part without prior permission in writ- 
ing from the publisher. ° 1984 TSR, Inc. 

Third-class postage is paid at Lake 



3am 






GAMMA WORLD, DRAGON. UNIVERSE, 
STAR FRONTIERS and DELTAVEE are trade- 
marks of TSR, Inc. Traveller and Striker are 
trademarks ol Game Designers' Workshop. 
Space Opera. Aftermath, and Villains S Vigi- 
lantes are trademarks of Fantasy Games 
Unlimited. Star Tfek is a trademark of FASA. 
The Morrow Pro|ect is a trademark of Timeline. 
Champions is a trademark of Hero Games. 
Superworld is a trademark of Chaosium, inc. 
Supergame is a trademark of DAG Design. 
Star Fleet Battles and Starfire are trademarks 

trademarks of Steve Jackson Games. Laser- 
burn is a trademark of Tabletop Games. Star- 
ship Troopers is a trademark ol Avalon Hill. The 
Forever War is a trademark of Mayfair Games. 
Star Fleet Battle Manual is a trademark of Zoc- 
chi Games 



'LOG' 



Welcome to the last issue of ARES" 1 Magazine. Starting with issue "84 of 
DRAGON® Magazine, ARES Magazine will be merged with the former publication 
as a special section, appearing monthly. The ARES section will include articles on 
science-fiction role-playing games and hoardgames. 

The decision to cease publication was not made lightly. Production costs (in 
terms of time, energy, and money), compared In the aclual readership, were the 
major factors; ihe circulation was not high enough to justify the workload 
involved in making it go. However, we are proud to have played a part in creating 
a product which has enjoyed such a high standard of quality since its inception. 

We would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to several individuals 
who helped make these last issues of ARES Magazine stand head and shoulders 
over their predecessors, and who helped make this Ihe finest of science-fiction 
gaming magazines. Many of them will lend their talents to the new ARES section 
in DRAGON Magazine. 

Kristine Bartyzel, our design director, is the one responsible for the layout and 
look of ARKS Magazine, ami has given it a touch tif class that tew gaming maga- 
zines have ever possessed. Some people think gamin;- magazines can't possibly be 
nice to look at as well, but happily that turned out to be just a rumor. Fortu- 
nately, she had help from our able, patient production staff, Marilyn Favaro and 
Kristin Pelisek, whose talents have been invaluable. 

Patrick Lucien Price has served as our fiction editor, maintaining contact with 
authors, selecting the best of the mountain of fiction we receive, and generally 
keeping us on our editorial toes. His efforts have brought a certain sophistication 
to this publication, and those of you who've .sampled the fiction in these pages 
will appreciate his work, too. 

Chuck Ramsay, the nose-to-the-grindstone editor of STRATEGY & TACTICS 8 
Magazine (our SP1 cousin), has given a goodly share of his time to inputting and 
proofing material, and we give our thanks to him for all that he's done for us. 

Others who deserve credit for their efforts include the games and contributing 
editors who've given us their time and talents; Mary Parkinson, our advertising 
coordinator; Jim Ward, our cheerful Gamma Expert; Georgia Moore, who assisted 
with inputting copy; Mary Cossman, our subscriptions department; and, of 
course, our editor-in-chief, Kim Mohan, whose support weVe appreciated on 
more than one occasion. All of these people have given ARES Magazine their best, 
and to them we are deeplv indebted. Thank you! 

Last, but not least, our most heartfelt ihanks gn out In voti, ihe readers who 
gave us your support and letters, and your articles. If you're interested in writing 
for the ARES section of DRAGON Magazine, check the writers' guidelines notice 
on the next page. We hope to hear from you in the davs to come. 

AH yet seems well; and if it end so meet, 
The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet. 
Alls Well That Ends Well, Act V, Scene III. 



Competition, in the form uf peaceful athletics or in the realm of warfare, makes 
interesting reading. It makes interesting gaming, too; role-playing games and 
boardgames thrive on competition, and this issue of ARES™ Magazine takes a look 
at the peaceful and warlike ways in which humans (and non-humans) might com- 
pete in the far future. 

The centerpiece for this issue is Nick Karp's module for the UNIVERSE" sci- 
ence-ficlHin nile-p laying game Mtmgnmic mill Cohrn. I'laver char '.triers tra\ eling 
to a newly -settled planet must uncover the mystery of why a research station has 
failed to report to home. The adventure grows deadlier as time slips by and other 
forces make their moves. 

Another tribute to the UNIVERSE game describes new ships and weapons sys- 
tems to enhance the DELTAVEE™ 1 starship combat boardgame; The Federation 
Strikes Back! variant was created by Marvant Duhon, and is a welcome addition 
to the DELTAVEE game. Tn a similar vein, Carl Smith adds more material to the 
STAR FRONTIERS™ KNIGHT HAWKS game, outlining the ways to fight tabletop 
spaceship battles using the STAR FRONTIERS miniatures now available from TSR, 
Inc.; new scenarios for the KNIGHT HAWKS game also appear. 

What will people do for recreation in the future? Four different articles and 
stories give their own answers to this question. Jim Ward cheerfully describes 
the amusements of a post-holocaust world (none of them recommended as enter- 
tainment in our own world) in Fun Anion/! the Mutanta; Steve Winter, on the 
other hand, believes thai driving last with a loaded machine gun is lots more fun 
than playing with four-armed people, and tells us why in Pancake Alley. This 
issue also features two excellent short stories describing futuristic competition 
from the gladiatorial arena of Henry Melton's Sword in the Dirt, to the alien play- 
ing fields of Timothy Sullivan's A Friendly Game ot'Hooplc. Picture a future Olym- 
pics with these sports. . . . 

The STAR FRONTIERS game makes another appearance with an article on a 
new dueling weapon that's the rage among Vaginalis (excuse the pun). Jay 
Hartlove, co-designer of the SUPERGAME™ superhero role-playing system, offers 
some insight into putting fantasy elements into superhero campaigns using the 
SUPERGAME system. 

Our regular columns feature reviews of new science-fiction books, a few 
thoughts on the horrible alien monsters who edit science -fiction magazines, and 
an extra -long games review section that features five releases from last year that 
might have escaped your attention. With that, we wish you good reading, and 
hope you enjoy this issue of ARES Magazine. 

The Editors 




LETTERS' 



Ji.ir tv Kpperson sent me a copy of his 
upcoming review (see Gaines, ARES'" 
Magazine Special edition II) of the TO 
CHALLENGE TOMORROW"' game, and 
he suggested that I write you with my 
reactions or comments. 

In general, 1 thought the review was 
quite well balanced. He seems to have 
caught the hasic elements of the game 
quite well, and his explanations are 
clear. He docs point out a number of 
imperfections, all of which we are 
aware of and which will he corrected in 
the second edition scheduled for release 
in January. 

1 could always make picky comments. 
fur example. 1 wish be had discussed 
some of the scenarios other than Anar- 
chy at Lugano, and I tend lo disagree 




with his prejudice against what he calls 
"gift of the gods" granting of TP, which 
seems to us far more playable and 
managahle than time-based learning. 
However, on the whole I'm quite 
pleased. 

One note of interest: we do have 
expansion sets in the works, the first 
two of which will be out quite soon. 
They are: TRIAD tSF in the far future, 
October '83, $3,951, LONDON BY NIGHT 
(Victorian and supernatural 1890s, 
December '83, $4,951, SUPERHEROES 
(Comic book setups and characters with 
new skills and powers, February '84, 
$4,951, JOLLY ROGER (Adventure in the 
West Indies in the age of Piracy, April 
'84, S3.95). Prices don't include postage 
which will he $.50 pec item, and all are 
in some stage of completion or other. 
Each one contains maps, new rules, 
background, rules corrections, a Q&.A 

lion, and 3-5 scenarios. This informa- 
tion might be a useful companion to the 



I hope the information and 
are of some value to vou. 



The following letter was received in 
response to the letters mailed to all 
ARES Magazine subscribers, concerning 
the merging of the magazine with 
DRA CON 9 Magazine: 

I hope that the [ARES] section in 
DRAGON Magazine is not merely a 
"token" section, thrown in just so vou 
can say you're "supporting'' science- 
fiction gaming. 1 also hope that this does 
not mean the end of the science -fiction 
games that 1 originally subscribed to 
ARES Magazine for. I have to drive over 
130 miles just to get to a hobby store 
that has a decent selection of games on 
hand. ARES Magazine was always nice 
lu gel because it gave mi: a new game 
without having to make a major trip. I 
also hope that the ARES section will 
continue to be a supportive area (with 
variants, scenarios, etc.) for previously 
published science-fiction games. Thank 
you for not abandoning us. 

Gary S. Johnson 
Pine Bluffs, WY 

Unfortunately, we will have to say good- 
bye to the boardgames that appeared in 



ARES Magazine The production of sci- 
ence-fiction boardgames is very difficult 
in itself, and the new format of the 
ARES section in DRAGON Magazine 
rules them out. However, we can cover 
boardgames that have already been 
published . . . if wc get the articles. 
Besides, DRAGON Magazine itself bas a 
special inclusion in each issue, and hope- 
fully once in a while science-fiction 
material will appear. 

As for the section being a "token" one, 
we'll put it this way — DRAGON Maga- 
zine has a readership of nearly a quar- 
ter of a million people. If we do a 
"token " section on science fiction, a lot 
of people: are going to call us liars. No 
way! We are giving the ARES section our 
best, and if some of you readers would 
care to send us articles that you believe 
we should be running, all the better. We 
have a fair number now, but wc lack 
good science-fiction boardgaming mate- 
rial. Please find out how to receive writ- 
ers' guidelines by referring to the ad on 
this page. In the meantime, pick op a 
copy of the April issue of DRA GON Mag- 
azine for continued coverage of science- 
lit:! inn gaining. 



Dave N.ille 

Ragnarok Enterprises 

Austin, lexas 



Do You Like To Write? 

The ARES" gaming section nf DRAGON® Magazine is looking 


HSi 1 * 


and see what we th 
for the A-RES gamin 
the following adc 
addressed envelope 
Oui* address is: 
ARES Departm 


ink about it. Information on writing 
^ section may be received by writing to 
ress and enclosing a stamped, self- 
so we may get back with you promptly. 


M 'MiWirrmS^: ■:%F / 'M 


may not want lo miss! 



MEDIA 1 



Of Writers, Editors and Horror Stories 



"Socially, a journalist fits in some- 
where between a whore and a bar- 
tender. But spiritually he stands 
beside Galileo. He knows the world is 
round." 

— Sherman Railly Duffy 

by David J. Schow 

Charitably, the ahove description might 
be expanded to encompass writers in 
general. Further charity would also 
allow the inclusion of a supportive, 
impossible, helpful, infuriating, insight- 
ful, maddeningly contradictory sub- 
phylum called "editors." Editors rank 
neither above nor below writers on the 
evolutionary tolem pole, but beside 
them. The only practical difference is 
lhat while writers and editors both 
know the world is round, only one of 
them has to reconcile that fart with the 
realization that he is nonetheless the 
editor-in-chief of Flat Earth Quarterly. 

first, some rules anil mythology. 

Myth #1: According to the dictum, 
thoso-who-can, do, those who cannot 
write become editors. This conclusion is 
nearly a matter of reflex. Many editors 
are writers, but not frustrated ones — 
witness the careers of T.E.D. Klein, Fred 
Pohl, or Robert Silverberg. Klein admira- 
bly juggles a literary career (working 
almost exclusively in the hard-to-sell 
novella form; forthcoming from Viking 
Pi-ess is a novel. The Ceremonies), with 
full-time editorship of Twilight Zone 
Magazine, whose annual fiction competi- 
tion featured last year a winner named 
Scott Edlcman, another editor (Last 
Wave Speculate Fiction). Then there are 
the non-fictional contributors, thus the 
term "contributing editor." Editorials 
themselves, the stevvpot of commentary 
heading each issue's contents, generally 
require some thought and elementary 
writing skills (except for the editorials in 
Stariog). All editor writers write eventu- 
ally ... if only editorials. 

Myth "Z: Whenever two or more 
writers get together the discussion 
unfailingly falls into one of three catego- 
ries: la) money, (b) sex or (c) editors, all 
three of which concern essentially the 
same thing. This myth is utterly, incon- 
testably true. 

Despite as many contrary examples as 



most working writers could name, the 
hoariest image of editors still holds 
sway, thanks mostly to those hyperbolic 
writer-to-writer confabs, not to mention 
the suspicions of not -vet-working writ- 
ers who mutter a lot and can only think 
in terms of cliches dating back to the 
stereotypes of The Front Page. The 
editor is idealized as either a misei Iv. 
18th-century wimp duded out in a visor, 
pince-nez, and arm garters, or a sweaty, 
bloated cigar -chomping slug with a sec- 
retarial bimho on one knee and a heart 
of fissionable lead. Although many edi- 
tors (particularly in science fiction) seem 
to prefer an antiquated image (just look 
at the way some of them dress at con- 
ventions), the tradition ignores the cur- 
rent reality that most of the editors 
i amrodding the science -fiction books 
you read today are women. 

Inevitably, there do exist inept, tyran- 
nical and tasteless philistines who use 
their position to eviscerate good writing 
with the alacrity of a starlet tooting 
cocaine. Such petty power junkies lurk 
in the gutters of the magazine industry, 
dealing in bile, hearsay and nuisance 
suits, but to call them editors is a gross 
exageration. They know who they are 
and will be ignored here. 

Contradictions aplenty, and they put 
us in touch with the essentially schizoid 
nature an editor must have to be useful. 
They are people capable of seeing the 
value in a manuscript without necessar- 
ily succumbing to it. 

I once wrote a story that was, among 
other things, the optimum length for a 
short piece of SF fiction. The initial 
rejections were quite encouraging, the 
sort of feedback thai sustains writers in 



lieu of food or money: "Vivid and unu- 
sual," it had "force and originality," "a 
colorful and mysterious protagonist;" it 
was "just black enough" and "stays one 
step ahead of the reader until the very 
end." One editor said "I rather like it" 
while another proclaimed it "good, inter- 
esting and original." To this day it 
remains unsold, having worn out its 
welcome at some 25 markets over the 
years (it was submitted to OMNI Maga- 
zine when that magazine was still an 
embryo called NOVA), which might lead 
a cynic to the conclusion that in science 
fiction there is no market for original, 
interesting, vivid, unusual stories. 

The key term editorial sensibility, the 
need for the writer to link up with the 
editor's wavelength, and comprehend 
the needs of a market in order to ade- 
quately supply them. It is not unlike a 
marriage of minds, tastes and practical 
necessity, and such marriages are often 
more traumatic than the real things. As 
far as simple rejection goes, therefore, 
the most frequent cause (unless one is 
the most talentless of tyros or hacks, 
and let's face it — there's enough 14- 
karat putrid writing slushpiled out there 
to sink the entire island of Hawaii) is 
that the material is "inappropriate." 

As a narcissistic, in-house example of 
how the process works, consider the 
editorial gamut run bv the storv "Visita- 
tion/recently published in ARES™ Maga- 
zine *1S. 

In late 1981, then ARES Magazine 
editor Michael Moore phoned to ask if I 
could assemble a research article on the 
haunted house genre as a support piece 
for a forthcoming game then called 
Nightmare Hotel. A two-page precis was 
approved and 1 had one of my first com- 
missioned articles [meaning one an edi- 
tor asks you to write , as opposed to a 




'MEDIA' 



written one you ask him to buy). When 
completed, the survey piece was titled 

The I hmnts of Ha'ants" and set for an 
issue due in four months. Since I had 
just published fiction in ARES Magazine 
("The Embracing," July, 1981), I asked if 
Mike would mind crediting a Media 
column, the article, and a Nightmare 
Hotel story all to the same writer in the 
same issue anil his reply was that 
bylines did not matter if the material 
was good. While 1 tried to write a 
haunted hotel story without ripping off 
The Shining, Mike called to inform me 
that the "fiction" for that issue would 
consist of an EC Comics-style illustrated 
story. I was briefly set to co-write it; I 
finished "Visitation" instead and hustled 
it off to other markets. 

TSR bought SPI, and 1982 came and 
went. The next time "Visitation" was 
mentioned was during a phone call from 
replacement editor Geoff Golson, which 
went something like this: "The OMEGA 
WARS™ game used a comics format in 
our last issue, and Nightmare Hotel is 
coming up next, and we don't want to 
repeat ourselves so soon with another 
comic, so, ah . . . could I see the haunted 
hotel story you were working on a year 
and a half ago?" 

The first copy I sent him got lost in the 
mail. The substitute arrived several days 
after *15's final deadline and was 
squeezed in anyway, even though a 
perfectly adequate filler story by 
another writer had been waiting in the 
wings. 

Somewhere between conception and 
realization, Nightmare Hotel became the 
NIGHTMARE HOUSE™ game, "Ha'ants" 
became "Haunted Places" (the original 
title of the precis) and ARES'" Magazine 
gained two new editors, Mary Kirchoff 
and Roger Moore Ino relation to 
Michael, or for that matter, James Bond). 
It was during their tenure that "Visita- 
tion" finally appeared in print, inside 
what Roger jokingly referred to as the 
"Dave Schow Memorial Issue of ARKS 
Magazine." 

And that's a case where things went 
fairly smoothly, without revisions. A 
similar story can be heard ahout almosi 
every manuscript that makes it to publi- 
cation, and while writers often judge 
such machinations as outrageous, long- 
suffering editors lake il in stride. T don't 
know what prescription they're on, but 



I'd like to find some of it." 

One small corrigendum: In the ARES 
Magazine * 16 column on movie noveliza- 
lions, "VV..I. Stuart," the novel i/.atiuni si 
for Forbidden Planet, was mistakenly 
identified as SF author Jack Williamson 
— a recurrent error in SF bibliographies 
thanks to the convenience of Jack's ini- 
tials and his middle name, Stewart. W.J. 
Stuart is in fact novelist Philip Mac- 
Donald, whose most well-known work is 
The List of Adrian Messenger. 
So much for good editors. . . . 



"I have broken a long-standing rule of 
good taste here by referring to my own 
experiences in the first person, a gross 
indulgence I permit myself because as 
we go to press, Roger Moore informs me 
that the issue of ARES Magazine you 
now hold in your hands is our last hur- 
rah; ARES Magazine as an entity is to be 
relegated to the back pages of TSR, Inc.'s 
own DRAGON® Magazine. Which 
reminds me: If you'd like to continue 
leading Madia as a regular feature in 
DRAGON Magazine, write a letter to — 
who else? — the editors. — DJS. A 




AMONG THE MUTANTS 



Wreck -creation in the 



lands of GAMMA WORLD" 



by James M. Ward 

When intelligent beings have time to get 
away from their normal working-day 

activities, they naturally turn to group 
games of one type or another. The cul- 
tures found in the lands of GAMMA 
WORLD games are no exception. Their 

games arc closely rclaled In the goals 
and interests of the Cryptic Alliance that 
prevails over that particular area and 
people, shaping the sort of amusements 
that the players are involved with. The 
following is a tongue-in-cheek list of 
activities that are commonly enjoyed 
throughout the GAMMA WORLD game 
world. These games are dangerous, and 
should no! he played anvwliore outside 
of the GAMMA WOULD game setting. 

Archivists 

Children's game: Laser in the Haystack 
One youngster takes a laser pistol and 
hides il on a mountainside, within an 
area about 100 meters in diameter that 
is thickly covered in straw and debris. 
He and two other youngsters then sit on 
the edges of the playing field and tele- 
kinetically throw rocks at other youths, 
acting as "searchers," who try to block 
the rocks by telekinesis and find the 
pistol in the shortest amount of time. 
Fun is had hy all in this fast-paced action 
game that simulates the difficulty of 
finding artifacts in a hard world. 

Adult game: Jump on the Robot 

The object of the game is to deactivate a 
working robot. When such a device is 
discovered, the Archivists will leap on 
the robot and hold on until the robot 
uses up its power reserves trying to get 
them off. The survivors then take the 
machine back home to their base. Some- 
times it takes several communities 
worth of Archivists to run the robot 
down, but that is part of the fun. 

Brotherhood of Thought 

Children's game: Pacify the Monster 

Always played with a team of three, the 

players in this game must find the big- 



gest wild mutant monster in their area 
(never much of a problem in itselfl and 
try to quiet the monster using any 
means that will not eompletelv destroy 
the creature. Points are awarded on the 
originality of the methods used to 
silence the beast. As one would expect, 
the 18-meter high Thunder Lizards 
(Kamndos) are favored liv players for 
this game over all other monsters, 

Adull game: Make the Plant Go Away 
This is a fun party game played by any 
number of consenting adults. It requires 
that some type of plant with poisonous 
thorns or tearing jaws he placed in a 
small room. The players must move the 
plant out of the room without actually 
touching it. Those with telekinetic abili- 
ties, however, must be within striking 
range of the plant at all times when they 
use their n 



Followers of The Voice 

Children's game: Shoot the Mountain 

This game is usually played by large 
ieams of heavily-armed children, l)ul 
sometimes individuals with powerful 
leclinnlogieal devices will plav il all bv 
themselves. In Shoot the Mountain, the 
object of the game is to see how much of 
a mountaintop a team can blow off at 
one [inie. Players with [lie Af.'/.s.s Mind 
mutation are especially good at this. 
Points are awarded for how many tons 
of earth are removed or scattered from 
the mountain. This game is quite popu- 
lar in what was once called the Rocky 
Mountains, now called the Rocky Hills. 

Adult game: Make the Best 'Irap 

Players create traps of one type or 
another to capture creatures and laige 
moving machines, in heavily populated 
regions away from the followers' home- 
lands. The winner is the person who 
traps the biggest creature within the 
time between one full moon and the 
next. Extra points are always awarded 
to those who capture machines, and an 
automatic win is given to any player 
who captures a Death Machine. 



gaming 

Friends of Entropy 

Children's game: Ruin the Thing 

This engaging children's pastime has 
each child bring an object to a central 
open area. Then the children all get 
together and try to destroy each of 
these objects with all of their might and 
powers. At the end of the game, the 
child who owns the least damaged 
object wins the game. 

Adult game: Destroy the World 

The adult version of Ruin the Thing, this 
game deals with ruining large tracts of 
land. The players see how much 
destruction they can cause to a specified 
area using any means (mental, physical, 
or otherwise) at hand. The one that 
ruins it the most wins the game. Radia- 
tion weapons may be used, but neutron 
devices that leave things standing after 
I he devices explode are no! appreciated. 

Healers 

Children's game: Ooktor 

This game is played by all children of 
Healers. The object of the game is to get 
an clear understanding of the anatomy 
of various creatures. The kids first 
locate a dead being, and then take it 
completely apart and study its organs 
and muscle structure. The winner of the 
game is the child who remembers the 
most about the life form when another 
one like it is encountered; of course, the 
second life form must also be taken 
apart completely, a concept that may not 
initially appeal to the creature. 

Adult game: Hoiv Big is the Hole 

How Big is the Hole is a game played in 
all areas in GAMMA WORLD gaming, 
especially by Healers (who don't use live 
targets). In this game, a non-living target 
whose texture resembles flesh is set up 
on a firing range. After selecting a 
ranged weapon of virtually any kind, the 
players draw a circle or shape of some 
kind on paper, giving their best estimate 
of the size and shape of the hole the 
weapon will make in the target. The 



player who best estimates the size of the 
actual hole wins. Nuclear weapons may 
not be used. 

Knights of Genetic Purity 

Children's game: Pin the Bird 

This game involves shooting arrows at 
large mutanted flying creatures of all 
types. The archer cannot be equipped 
with any weapons other than a bow, but 
may have as many arrows as can be 
carried. The player that pins the largest 
mutant flyer to the ground with the best 
shots wins the game. The "bird," of 
course, is allowed to fight back, and 
frequently (99% of the time) does. 

Adult game: Grab the Mutant 

Players in this game are unarmed, and 
must be mounted on Brutorz. A human- 
oid mutant of some type is set loose 
within a certain area, and the mounted 
Knights try to grab the mutant and 
prevent it from escaping without killing 
it. A similar game is played by Iron Soci- 
ety members, though the roles of 
catcher and catch.ee, of course, are 
reversed. Daring Knights may even give 
the mutant a weapon of some sort. 

Radioactivists 

Children's game: Search for the Glow 
In this game, children compete with 
each other to find the brightest piece of 
radioactive material in a given area. The 
player that brings in the object, device, 
or non-living remnant emitting the high- 
est intensity radiation wins the game. 

Adult game: Melt the Thing 

Objects made of different materials are 
brought close to a slab of metal giving 
off 18-intensity radiation. The mutant 
bringing in the object that takes the 
longest to melt in the radiation field 
wins the game. Things that totally 
emplode do not count, and the mutant 
cannot shield the item he brings with his 
own powers. 

Kestorationists 

Children's game: Guess What It Is 
The players in this game lake an 
unknown object of the Ancients and try 
to figure its workings out within a short 
period of time. Points are awarded for 
noises the object makes, for finding 
lights that blink, and especially for mak- 
ing the device shoot missiles of any type, 
no matter who or what they hit. 

Adult game: Fire the Weapon 

This fascinating game has the players 
try to figure out unknown weapons of 



the Ancients of any type, and is similar 
in many ways to the game above. Points 
arc awarded (or successfully firing the 
weapon, finding out how it is loaded, 
and, unlike in the children's game above, 
for not hurting anyone when the 
weapon goes off (adults have learned to 
be somewhat cautious). Players who 
activate atomic weapons are usually 
disqualified, depending on house rules. 

Seekers 

Children's game: Kopn and Hobbers 
In this fun game, the players pick teams; 
one, the Kops, is made up of the strong- 
est of the players, and the othf r, the 
Robbers, contains the fastest workers. 
The Robbers are given a count of 100 to 
build some type of defensive structure 
or fort. Then the Kops try and knock 
the fort down while the Robbers try to 
stop them in any way that doesn't actu- 
ally kill the Kops. The Kops are forbid- 
den to directly strike the structure; they 
must use other means li.e., mutations, 
firearms, etc.). The winner of the game 
is the team that does the best job of 
building or destruction. 

Adult Game: Melt Down 

All adult Seekers love to apply varying 
intensities of heat to the artifacts of the 
Ancients. This pastime is shared by all 
Seekers and those with Pyrotechnic 
abilities are favored members of any 
team. Whole tracts of land are especially 
devoted to this activity around the 
homes of the Seekers, where it is a com- 
mon sight to see blast furnaces and 
bellows working in a good game of Melt 
Down, turning artifacts into formless 
lumps of gray slag. The products of such 
games are always used in the weapons 
and defenses nearby towns. 
The Created 

This group of intelligent creatures are 
not usually known to play any type of 
leisure sport. Some minor power 
groups, however, are computer -linked to 
strange machines called video games. 
These devices employ hologram projec- 
tors, and provide hours of target prac- 
tice time for robots as they blast away at 
three-dimensional projections generated 
against any flat surface. 

The Iron Society 

Children's game: Stab the Dummy 
This game uses a human-sized thatch 
dummy placed in an open field. Standing 
back about thirty feet away, the mutant 
children enjoy themselves by throwing 
their razor-sharp daggers at it all day 



long until the dummy falls apart. Special 
points are awarded for throws that take 
the head off the dummy. 

Adult game: Throw the Human 

This game is played whenever a Knight 
of Genetic Purity falls into the hands of 
the Society members. The human Knight 
is tied up, and players in the game take 
turns seeing how far they can throw the 
human. Extra points are awarded for 
height and distance, and for making the 
Knighl bounce. 

The Ranks of The Fit 

Children's game: Targets 
This simple game is played constantly by 
all the children of this alliance. They 
simply pick any sort of moving target, 
from animal to plant, and shoot at it 
with the missile weapons that their 
parents make for them. Special points 
are always awarded for hits that com- 
pletely blow up the target. 

Adult game: In Fiel Odd 

This game is played with large darts or 

razor-sharp discs. A special field is made 
of man-sized logs ranked in several 
rows. In this game, the players see how 
many logs they can hit with one or two 
missile weapons. Points are awarded for 
the amount of damage done to the rows 
and the number of logs hit with any one 
throw. This game was taken from a 
book about the age of Napoleon, an 
Ancient general, and is played by all 
members of the alliance. 

Zoopremists 

Children's Game: Crushum 

Crushum is always played on rocky 
hillsides. A carving of a humanoid figure 
is placed at the bottom of the hill, and 
players climb high on the slope over- 
looking the carving and drop anything 
from pebbles to boulders on the figure. 
The player who does the most damage 
to the carving wins the game. 

Adult game: Break the Wall 

Break the Wall requires ten players. 
Walls composed of various materials are 
built from stones, logs, or anything else 
that is commonly used to make build- 
ings. It is the duty of each player to do 
their best to break the wall in the brief- 
est amount of time. The winner of the 
competition is the player making the 
largest -sized hole or break in the wall 
itself. The best Break the Wall players 
are always given the honor of being the 
first-in fighters when attacking the cas- 
tles of Knights of Genetic Purity. A 




Sword 
Dirt 



IV THE 



Lord Erin James North, Earl of West Hendryn , 
stood at ease, balanced, with his legs at a fighting 
stance. He was relaxed, his mind cleared of anything ® 1983 by Henry Melton 
more serious than the play of the gold reflection of the room lights off his armor or the balanced weight of shield 
and blue steel broadsword. He took a deep breath and swung his sword in a blaztngly fast overhead arc. 



His shield warned, "Donl 
overtrain. It wouldn't help 
anything if you had a muscle 
spasm right now. The fight 
will be in five minutes — III 
lie giving you more warm-up 
exercises. Don't go off on 
your own." 

Lord Erin scowled, "I 
moved my sword because it 
felt right. Don't underesti- 
mate my feeling of what is 
right." 

The large jewel on the hilt 
of the sword in question 
pulsed blue as it added, "You 
have to be careful! Shield has 
your training schedule. If you 
are not going to follow our 
advice, you should never 
have made us." 

"Shut up. I've got to concen- 
trate." The Earl was irritated. 
Sword could choose a better 
time to berate him. The 
Soviet broadsword champion 
would be challenging him in 
minutes, with only a four- 
point spread between them to 
decide who would take the 
gold medal and who would 
take the silver. Sometime 
after the games were over, he 
was fining lo take his sword 
apart and re-do its personal- 
ity entirely. 

The warm-up room was 
empty. Before a fight he pre- 
ferred iTimnuiriion n illi him- 



self and his armor and 
weapons to that of any 
human trainer. He asked his 
tunic, "How am I doing?" 

Tunic reported his agility 
and metabolism quickly and 
with no spare words. Its 
personality was not nearly as 
extroverted as Sword. Shield 
announced time for a quick 
dozen sword-presses to prime 
him for the bout. Lord Erin 
completed the exercise just as 
the door opened. A page 
decked in .1 white tunic deco- 
rated in the five colored inter- 
locking circles entered and 
announced the roval request 
for his presence. 

The Earl sheathed Sword, 
removed Helm and tucked it 
under his arm. He nodded to 
the page and followed him 
out onto the bright sunny 
meadow. 

The light breeze ruffled his 
blond hair with a cool breath 
of spring. His eyes searched 
the ornately carved stands 
where the King and his court 
waited. He couldn't spot the 
cameras this time. In the 
North American prelimi- 
naries, when he took John- 
son, he'd spotted a lens. The 
president of the association 
had reported the lapse of 
protocol. Lord Erin could see 
everything tightening up as 



the final round approached. 
Whether it was because of 
the importance of the match, 
or just a reflection of an old 
European sense of fitness, he 
appreciated the care taken to 
insure the purity of the 
scene. To the eye, there was 
nothing in this meadow to 
remind him of the modern 
world and its modern 
problems. 

Count Carl Shenev, Protec- 
tor of the Georgian Reaches, 
matched his pace as they 
neared the royal party. Lord 
I'.rin paid him no mind as he 
concentrated on the elements 
of the presentation. There 
was so much to remember, 
and protocol forbade the 
wearing of a helm at this 
time. 



SWORD It) HLI.M: Have you 

got a fix on the competition'.' 
helm to sword: AF, We are 
matched. The Soviet is aug- 
mented. There is a tracer on 
us as well. 1 would guess 
third -generation armor — 
Sanford design. Our primary 
is due for a shock. 

SWORD TO SHIELD: What are 
our chances? 

SHIELD TO SWORD: I am 

working on it. 

shield to helm: I need a 

physiological reading on our 
opponent primary. 

SHIELD TO Tuimio. Give me a 

physiological reading on our 

primary. 

Lord Erin enjoyed the cere- 



mony. He always did. The King took the 
jeweled Cross of St. Forman from its 
velvet case and blessed the combatants. 
Then they both rose from their knees 
Erin turned to his party and bowed — 
first to the president then to his lady. 
Margaret smiled confidently and blew 
him a kiss. A page carried her token to 
him, and he tucked the blue gauze into 
the wrist of his gauntlet. 

The King's Marshall raised his hand. 
They saluted with their swords, then 
sheathed and turned lo [heir stations. 
Lord Erin had placed his helm on before 
he had taken two steps. 

The earpiece was hot from the 
moment he had it in place, "Trouble, the 
Soviet is augmented." 

"Good!" 

"Dont you want more detail?" 

"No," Lord Erin shook his head. "Just 
give me the best advice you can. If the 
count is getting good advice, then it 
should be a fair match." He smiled. The 
scent of spring flowers on the warm 
morning wind, the caress of his lady's 
token on his wrist, and the weight of his 
armor on his shoulders made it one of 
life's perfect moments. He began to 
whistle as he approached his circle. 

SWORD TO shield: It is obvious from 
our primary's words that strategy is 
being left up to us this time. 1 can think 

of three offensive strategies to take. 

One, we can concentrate on the pri- 
mary. It will be difficult if he is indeed 
using the Stanford armor. 

Two, we can concentrate on the second- 
aries. Helm should be able to give us 
accurate target information in order to 
take out the opponent's sensors. We 
have to expect this strategy to be 
directed against us. Without secondary 
tactical advice, the battle would revert 
to a classical broadsword fight — a con- 
test of the primary's stamina, strength 
and instincts. We have seen what hap- 
pens when one primary is augmenti 
and the other is not. It would be worse 
for us if our primary was deprived of 
our advice. His instincts have probably 
atrophied. But if we could take out our 
opponents sensors in a first strike, then 
the game would be ours. 

And then there is option three — 

TUNIC TO SWORD: I told you before, I 
will not consider that. I do not approve 
of the discussion. It is not our job. 

There were three circles, each a rod in 
diameter, traced in the grass with rope. 
The two outer circles overlapped the 



center one as if they were links in a 
chain. Battle could only be engaged in 
the center, and combatants could only 
leave at the order of the Marshall. 
Retreat to the end circle was permitted 
to replace weapons, but only for a pe- 
riod of one minute. Lord Erin had never 
made use of this option in his five years 
of combat and he had no intention of 
starting the practice. 

I 'he Marshall's voice rang out eleariv, 
and the Earl and the Count stepped into 
the center circle with sword and shield 
held ready. The initial stroke was not 
long in coming. This was no fencing 
match. The broadsword is swung in an 
overhead circle, with a twist of the wrist 
during the last phase of the stroke to 
double the speed of the blade as it 
striken 

These opponents were seasoned. 
Every stroke was hitting the shields. The 
clang of metal on metal rang across the 
scene. 

In the Earl's ear, Helm spoke continu- 
ous advice as to where to place his 
strokes and warnings as to where the 
shield must be to divert the flashing 
metal edge that came at him every other 
heartbeat. 

sword to helm: We must do it my 
way. Shield and 1 are the taciical brains 
of this outfit, and our conclusions are 
identical. Unless we act now, we may 



SHIELD TO HELM: I agree. 1 have sus- 
tained more surface damage this bout 
than in the last three combined. 

helm to shield: Shut up and feed me 

the tacticals. That last one was too close 
to me. Where will your slralcgic bril- 
liance go if my sensors are taken out? 

tunic to shield: Helm is right. Con- 
centrate on the fight, and do it by the 
book. We know you are getting hurt. 
That is why we must spend our total 
effort in winning quickly. 

SWORD TO HELM: Or losing quickly. 

TUNIC TO HELM: Don't listen to them. It 
is not our job to lose. 

SHIELD TO HELM: Tunic isn't getting any 
damage that I can see. But I'm getting 
chewed up out here. Sword and I are 
agreed that we can choreograph a quick 
end to this, with minimal damage to the 
primary. Don't forget that you are the 
number one target — even more than 
the primary according to the attack 
■■statistics. Unless we act fast, we both 
might finish the day in the scrap heap, 



and tunic might end up with a cold body 
to monitor. The greatest good for the 
greatest number right now is to lose, 
and quickly. 

helm to shield: I dont know yet. 
Right now I need tacticals. And give me 
a plan of attack against my opposite 
number. I want to blind that secondary! 

SHIELD TO HELM: I've been working on 
it. Okay, transfer this. 

Sweat was stinging Lord Erin's eyes. 
The action was hot, and it never let up. 
He was gaining a grudging respect for 
the Count's strength and stamina, if 
nothing else. 

In his ear, there whispered: "Bend 
your left knee." Aim for the chest." 
Expect a low cut." "Aim for the ear." 
Normally, the voice in his ear was like 
his own thoughts, but this was becom- 
ing a very strange battle. More and 
more of the attacks against him were 
aimed at his head, and his own aim had 
been directed to the Count's copper- 
hued helmet far more often than was 
usual. There could be only one reason. 
While the silver medal had been 
awarded posthumously more than once 
this last decade, it was never because of 
a head wound. The helms were very 
strong. All that would be accomplished 
by a strike there would be damage to 
the sensors or the computer. 

HELM TO SHIELD: Don't give me that 
noise. We need to take out the oppo- 
nent's sensors before they take me out. I 
need support here. 

SWORD TO HELM: Shield is right: the 
opponent is too fast. These attacks 
againsl his sensors are both futile and 
dangerous. They know very well what 
we are up to, and they can read our 
actions quickly enough to avoid head 
attacks. A head attack is very difficult. 
And your own data is telling us that the 
opponent is much better at it than we 
are. Your only chance is to go along with 
our plan. 



TUNIC TO HELM: This if 



vning. 



SWORD TO TUNIC: I wouldn't worry. My 
plan works for a lower limb cut on our 
primary. You shouldn't even be harmed. 

HELM TO SWORD: Feed me this 
sequence. I'd like to look at it. 

Lord Erin was feeling the strain. His 
sword arm shook from fatigue, and his 
shield was slower to block after each 
strike. How could the big Russian keep it 
up? At least by now the swords no 



12 



"Wur taetica/s betrayed you as sure/y as mine betrayed me. 
Hi must rid 'ourse/ves oft/iem iftAis is to remain a fie/a 1 of bonor. " 



longer have a razor edge. Erin shook 
that thought away; it was defeatist. 

"Aim for the chest." "Block high.'' "Try 
for the chest again." "Block high." 

No! Lord Erin rejected the whispers. 
The Count was cutting low! Erin blocked 
low. The field rang with the sound of 
the deflected blow. 

He backpedaled almost to the rope. 
There were more whispers in his ears, 
but he ignored them. He had expected 
this, and his fears had proved true. He 
must not listen any more. 

The Count was puzzled by his retreat; 
there seemed no sense in it, but he 
advanced. In the free seconds Lord Erin 
gained, he fumbled with his chin strap 
and pulled his helm free. The crowd 
gave a collective gasp of puzzlement as 
his blond hair shook free in the sunlight. 
It was suicidal to he in the broadsword 
ring without head protection. 

He dropped his shield and took the 
helm in the freed hand. The count was 
almost in striking range. Erin tossed the 
helm directly at the Count's face. 

The gamble worked. The count's 



sword struck the helm in midair. Erin 
marveled at the man's speed, even as he 
used his own sword to cut deep into his 
opponent's thigh. 

That was the end. In short order, Lord 
Erin had his swordpoint at the man's 
chest. The Count cried yield. The King 
granted his life. And the crowd went 
wild. 

The Marshall summoned them from 
the circle, and Lord Erin stabbed his 
sword into the soil and stooped to help 
his fallen opponent. 

Healers arrived on a run with medical 
kits. As they worked on the leg, Erin 
spoke to the Count, "You are very fast. ! 
am not sure I would care to face you 
again." 

The man's smile was pained, "But the 
best man won. And it is not you who is 
bleeding into the grass." 

Lord Erin frowned and shook his 
head, "I am not sure of that. 1 will speak 
to my president, requesting an associa- 
tion ruling that forbids augmentation in 
our sport." 

"But you were augmented. My tactical 



assured me of that!" 

"Yes, I was," he glanced over to where 
the helm lay, split nearly in two by the 
Count's last stroke. "And I listened to 
their voices until they turned against 
me. They had no honor. Did you not see 
how the battle turned from being a 
contest between two men to a war 
between my tacticals and yours? I gam- 
bled that yours would attack my helm 
rather than me if given the chance, and 
it worked. Your tacticals betrayed you as 
surely as mine betrayed me. We must 
rid ourselves of them if this is to remain 
a field of honor." 

"Can you move?" The Count nodded, 
and Lord Erin helped him to stand on 
his good leg. The crowd went wild as 
the two men moved, slowlv, to face the 
King. 

SWORD TO shield: We won. We sur- 
vived. 

SHIELD TO SWORD: Yes. 

SWORD TO SHIELD: I wish the primary 
wouldn't leave me stuck in the dirt like 
this. I'll rust. A 




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"14 RAID ON NIGHTMARE CASTLE 

•15 UNDER DRAGON'S WING 

■16 THE DRAGON'S RANSOM 



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by Steve Winter 

Modern road rallying actually started several years ago, back 
in the early days of autodueling. Even five years ago, things 
weren't like they are now. There wasn't any AADA, no Metro 
Police or Frontier Main Patrol, not even a working national 
communication net. Outlaws controlled just about everything 
outside the fortified towns, and went pretty much wherever 
they wanted to go. 

With civilians holed up behind walls and outlaws running 
the countryside, autoduelists got their kicks by challenging 
each other to make runs into outlaw territory. One guy would 
race out 50 miles or so, marking his trail as he went, and hide 
a case of Yukon Jack. When he got back to civilization, the 
game was on for his friends. It really took some gears to drive 
around in the decivilized areas without any real idea where 
you were headed until you got there. Anyway, the guys who 
made it back could have a fine lime toasting the guys who 
didn't and lying about all the dirty birds they smoked. 

But with the highway pacification programs and ironclad 
convovs and every driver and his dog packing a piece on the 
roads, those days are gone. Rumor says things are still pretty 
wild out in Nevada, and all around the Prohibited Area, but 
there's no real challenge in a quick run outside the perimeter 
anymore. Nobody needs an excuse to go cruising for goons, 
and most goons nowadays aren't worth the ammo it lakes to 
open them up: rich little prangers in showroom cars, barely a 
duslup in the lot. 

Anyway, rally dueling grew right out of that tradition. Now 
its got its own professional circuit, a drivers' organization, 
video coverage, even fan clubs. It seems a lot dirtier now, but 
that's what happens when a high-risk hobby turns into a pro- 
fessional blood sport. 

The North American Rally Commission recognizes three 
kinds of rally dueling now: Fox and Hounds, individual Score 
the Flag, and learn Score the Flag. Score the Flag is based on 
an old kid's game, but it still owes a lot to those old Yukon Jack 
runs. Fox and Hounds is more like the real thing. 

All three games are played in an area of about 50 square 
miles, laced with roads. Conditions on the course depend on 
where Ihe course is. On the Eastern seaboard and along the 
Mississippi valley, courses are constricted; lines of sight are 
short because the fighting area is all hills and woods. In the 
Plains and Southwest, everything is flat and open and a gun- 
ner can see a target when it's a mile out of range. The Rockies 
are pretty much like the East, at least in their effect — real 
short lines of sight and fire — hut Ihe roads are a lot trickier 
and there are a lot more prangs. "Departing the surface" is a 
lot more dangerous, loo. In Illinois, at least, a car isn't likely to 
fall 500 feel if it skids off a turn. 



14 



Fox and Hounds works like this: One car is the Fox. The Fox 
chooses his starting road from three or four possibilities on 
one side of the course. It has to gel across the course and 
leave along one of the designated roads on the opposite side. 
The Hounds are three to five other vehicles thai enler the 
course along any side roads. Their job is to hunt down the Fox 
and keep it from leaving the area. 

That sounds pretty tough for the Fox, but the Fox has a 
guardian angel: a helicopter that keeps tabs on the Hounds 
and tells ihe Fox where the Hounds are and where they're 
headed. The Fox knows where the enemy is all the time, but 
has to think and move fast to avoid being trapped. The 
Hounds have to find the Fox, box him in, and catch him or rap 
him off the road before he can slip out of sight at a junction or 
get the Hounds all bunched up and break into the clear. 

There's a variation on this called Bear and Hounds. The 
difference is that the guardian angel nol qnly tells the Bear 
where the Hounds are, but tells the Hounds where the Bear is. 
lb make it a contest, the Bear usually is a real badass, more 
than a match for any one Hound. Unless Ihe Hounds can gang 
up on him, the Bear will just smash through a weak poinl and 
rack up an easy prize cup. 

Score the Flag is played in ihe sam 
ent set of rules. Instead of sending o 
with no objective other than escape, h 
vehicle or a team of vehicles has to mc 
pick up flags from various stations throughout the area, and 
get back lo its own base. Everybody else is trying to do the 
same thing at the same time, of course. 

Before starting a Score the Flag game, five lo eight flag sta- 
tions have to be set up around the course. Prime places for 
flag slalions are abandoned schools, and other isolated 



:a,but with a differ- 



i Score the Flag one 
b through the course, 





landmarks. All a flag slation really needs is a Hag dispenser 
and a sandbag bunker. A flag dispenser can be a complicated 
locked -compartment affair, or a simple clothesline where flags 
are hung in the open. A hunker is just a sandbag enclosure, 
about 3 feet high and 5 feet across, where a driver can dive 
for cover if somebody catches him outside his car. 

Individual Score the Flag works like this: Three to eight 
vehicles each start at a road leading into the course. When the 
starting signal is fired, they race into the course area. The 
objective is to drive to each flag station, stop the car, get out 
(or have the gunner gel out) and retrieve a flag from that 
station, hang it on the car's whiplash flagpole so everybody 
can see it, get back in the car, and head for the next station. 
When a car has a flag from each station, it heads back toward 
its entry road. The winner is the first car out of the area with 
a flag from every station. 

Cars can hit the stations in any order they want. Some guys 
will just drive a circuit, others will skip around. Opponents 
can be ambushed or avoided, whichever seems like a good 
idea at the time. 

Matches can be run blind or with universal observers. In 
blind matches, nobody knows where anvbodv is until thev 
cross sights. Universal observers are like the guardian angel in 
Bear and Hounds. They watch the field from above and report 
positions to everybody. A few months ago the New Peoria 
Rallyers tried a partially blind rally. Airborne observers 
reported positions and movements, but those reports were 
broadcast only to video screens at the flag stations. Drivers 
willing l» sit at a station get updates on the competition. 

Musical Flags is a variant on Bear and Hounds that's getting 
popular because it promotes more fighting. If that's what the 
fans want, somebody's bound to see that they get it. The only 
change is that each flag station has one fewer flag than there 
are cars in the rally. The car that gets to a station last is out of 
luck; the only way to get that flag is to take it from someone 
who has it, and the only way to do that is to disable that car. 

House rules on defending a pancake vary. Most clubs rule 
that if a car is rapped out of the event , that driver has to sur- 
render his flags to whoever ventilated his cage. Rules like that 
keep drivers alive and protect professionals from psychotic 
killer types, but there's a good argument that they promote 
mediocrity, too. In the end, people will fight harder if they 
can't squirm out of a meatgrinder by surrendering. 

Team Score the Flag works the same way, but cars operate 
as teams instead of alone, and only two flag stations are used. 
Those flag stations do double duty as flag stations and as team 
bases. Anybody who was once a kid should recognize this as a 
blood and guts version of capture the flag, lb win, one team 



"Just lucky, I guess." says unsctatched Dieter "Stormcloud" Sturm, three- 
time Wisconsin State Autodueling Champion, shown here after a relaxing 
game of "Bear and Hounds." "If you think THIS looks bad. you should see 
the other guys!" says the Stormcloud. 



has to cross the field, take the enemy's flag anvwav which iv,n 
it can, and carry it hack across the field to its own base. 

A captured flag can be retaken by members of its own team, 
but only by force. Once retaken, a flag becomes mobile; a 
learn that recaptures its flag can hang it from a whip and 
carry it around the field. 

Only two hard rules apply in this game. First, every vehicle, 
driver, and gunner has to wear prominent learn colors at all 
times, so everybody knows whether a target is friendly or 
hostile. That doesn't mean a driver can'l get out of his car and 
creep through the bushes to spy out or attack the enemy's 
base; it means that when the enemy spots him, there shouldn't 
be any question about which side he's on. Second, flags have 
to be displayed prominently at all times. If the flag is at its 
home base, it has to be flying from a pole, 6 to 8 feel from the 
ground, visible from all directions. If the flag is heing carried 
by a vehicle, it has to be flying from the whip. If the flag is 
being carried by a greener, it has to be fastened to the top of 
his helmet, tucked under an epaulet, or lied around his arm 
or neck. Nobody should have to wonder which team a car or 
pedestrian belongs 10 or whether it's carrying a flag. 

SCORE THE FLAG IN CAR WARS GAMING: Some people would 
rather run rallies with paper and dice than blacktop and bul- 
lets. (Don't start looking around; we know who you are.) 

To set up a Score Ihe Flag course for a CAR WARS game, get 
a map of the county where the players live. Pick an area 8 to 8 
miles square and map it onto quarter-inch graph paper al a 
scale of one square equals 100 yards 1100 yards equals 20 cat- 
lengths.) Pick five to eight intersections and landmarks and 
mark them as flag stations. 

Next, indicate ridges and high points along Ihe roads. A 
driver or gunner can trace a line of sight from one ridge to 
another, and to anything between, but never across a ridge. A 
target can't be altacked if there is a ridge between it and the 
attacking vehicle. 

Finally, if the course will be used for Score the Flag, draw 
maps of a few flag stations. One station is pretty much like 
another, so one or two station maps are enough. I'.acli station 
needs a flag dispenser and a sandbag bunker. A person inside 
a bunker is protected from all directions except overhead. A 
typical bunker offers 5 to 10 DP of protection. Exposed flag 
stations need the sturdiest bunkers. 

Until vehicles move within sight or attacking range of each 
other, cars move in 20-second turns. Each driver indicates his 
speed at the start of the turn, then all vehicles are moved. 
Each vehicle moves a number of squares equal to one-tenth of 
Us speed (a car traveling al 50 mph moves five squares on the 
map). If the map is mounted on corrugated cardboard, posi- 
tions can be indicated with colored pins. 

A vehicle can burn straight through an intersection without 
stopping or slowing down, but if the driver wants to turn, his 
vehicle has to stop as soon as it reaches the intersection. II can 
move normally in any direction on Ihe following turn. 

Picking up a flag lakes one complete turn. During lhat turn, 
the vehicle musl be slopped at the flag station and either the 
driver or Ihe gunner has lo be outside the vehicle. The vehicle 
can move normally in any direction on Ihe next lurn. 

DRIVE OFFENSIVELY! A 





FRIENDLY 
GAME OF 

HOOPLE 



by Timothy Robert Sullivan 



J_Jess than ten hours after losing the 
closest game a human team had ever 
played against Hoderians, Shem and I 
were practicing hoople on the inner 
walls of one of the colony's revolving 
spokes with the team's three stars. Shem 
and I were the first players ever born 
on the colony who'd made the team, but 
so far neither of us had ever actually 
played the game. We'd only been sec- 
onds for Tomoko Murashima, Barney 
Barckzi Lopez, and Hassan Worth. My 
name is Jay Kruschev. 

Even though two bulkheads separated 
the practice area from the rest of the 
colony, the three of them were scrim- 
maging as though their lives depended 
on it. A bypass had been constructed 
outside, and no visitors were allowed, so 
their efforts weren't just for show. The 
disappointment of losing the game by 
only one point had turned to anger and 
then determination. 

We skated on clay — floated over it, 
actually — brought up from Hoder's 
claybowls, a hole in the planet's surface 
filled with melted glacial ice and sedi- 
ment. A volcanic hot spot churned and 
boiled the stuff, which we simulated 
with exhaust vents heating and moving 



the clay. It was reasonably realistic, I 
suppose, but next to the real thing it was 
a satyr to Hyperion in terms of magni- 
tude. Nothing I've experienced before or 
since compares with the feeling of being 
plopped down on that turbulent sea of 

Something hit me from behind like a 
ton of bricks, sending me sprawling. All 
three of our experienced players treated 
Shem and me like second-class citizens, 
hut only Worth did this kind of thing. 
He'd done the same thing to Barney 
during the game, in his eagerness to 
score and gain some glory; it had cost 
our team two points. 

Attila Luvumha, our coach, blew his 
whistle as I rolled over, my body leaving 
an impression in the warm glop. 1 fell 
backwards to bob onto my feet so 1 
wouldn't have lo turn off my antigravi- 
ton skates, a lime-saving trick Attila had 
taught me. The skates floated a few 
centimeters off the ground — about 
three inches. When you were standing, 
that was fine, but it was hard to get on 
your feet unless you knew how. 

As I stood on shaky legs, Worth leered 
at me, skating past. The whistle blew 
again, and he looked up at Attila hover- 



ing over us, nylon wings flapping 
angrily. Atlila jerked his thumb and 
ordered Worth off the clay. 

"All right, all right," Worth said with 
annoyance, slill gliding over the minia- 
ture waves. 

"Get off the clay now!" Attila shouted, 
banking in the low gravity and coming 
down right in front of Worth. 

Worth could no longer ignore him. 
Barney and Tbmoko glared at him too, 
so he reluctantly withdrew to the near- 
est bulkhead. It was often said that 
Woiih, skillful player that ho was. had 
forgotten the purpose of the game; it 
was, first and foremost, a tool of diplo- 
macy. Tb Worth, it was an obsession that 
had turned sour. He no longer believed 
we could ever beat the natives, and so 
he'd become a violent player. We won- 
dered how long it would be before vio- 
lence carried over into his life off the 
clay. He must have known he was court- 
ing disaster, but it seemed that he 
couldn't help himself. 

During the rest of the practice session, 
Barney and Shem played hard against 
Tumnko and me, until Atlila blew the 
whistle again and told us to go spray off 
our sweat. Attila removed the rigging 
and corset connected to his wings, his 
heavy body perspiring almost as much 

Tbmoko and Barney were gone by the 
time Shem and 1 were dressed. They 
didn't associate with us much off the 
clay anyhow; we were the two lowly 
subs, and they were the colony's hoople 
stars. So Shem and I opened the hatch in 
the bulkhead and bounced down to get 
something to eat. The commissary, 
inside the hub, was very busy and noisy, 
as usual. I saw Tbmoko, Barney, and 
Worth sitting together at a table. There 
were two more places there, not being 
used. "Let's join them," 1 said. 

"Uh, uh," Shem replied, "I'd rather eat 
standing up." 

"Not me." I walked over to their table. 
"Mind if I join you?" 

Tbmoko made no sign that she'd heard 
me, and Barney shrugged his broad 
shoulders. Worth's red face glowered at 
me, but he didn't say anything, it would 
have been bad form for them to refuse 
me. 1 was new on the team, and 1 knew 
they didn't want me there, but 1 felt 
compelled to join them. Perhaps I was 
trying to prove something to them , . , 
or to myself. 

I sat down. 

"Leave it to one of these snot-nosed, 
tin-can kids to invite himself to eat din- 
ner with the grown-ups." Worth was 



speaking, ofcourse. 

1 almost expected the others to say 
something about his rudeness, but they 
paid no attention to him. We weren't on 
the clay now, and Worth's social behav- 
ior didn't concern them. 1 was on my 



"I'm sorry," 1 said, feeling awkward 
and hurt. "1 thought that since we're 
teammates — " 

"Teammates!" Worth jeered. "Kid 
you're nothing but a second -stringer, a 
redheaded waterboy. You're not on any 
team." He leaned closer, affording me a 
generous view of the food he was chew- 
ing. "You're only good for carrying our 
gear." 

"Oh, yeah?" I snapped. "At least I 
didn't lose points for us yesterday." 

Worth was livid. He'd meant to anger 
me, but he never dreamed I'd fight back. 
"You little bastard!" he screamed, lung- 
ing at me. He landed on his belly and 
slid across the table, mealy hands grop- 
ing for me. Plates clattered and food 
flew through the air. Barney and 
Tbmoko held him back, straining as he 
flopped on the tabletop like a fish out of 

He finally calmed down and got off the 
table. Looking glumly at the refuse, he 
picked up a chair and righted it, then 
stalked silently out of the commissary. 

Barntiv shook his close-cropped head. 
"He's rabid." 

Tbmoko said nothing, sizing me up 
with that cool gaze of hers, delicate 
features in repose. I suspected that she 
was surprised I'd stood up to Worth, an 
athlete famed even back on Earth. I 
couldn't say what that meant, because 
I'd never been to Earth. I was born and 
raised on the colony, and I'd never been 
anyplace but Hoder. 

"I'm sorry," I said. 

"Why?" Barney asked. "You havent 
done anything wrong." 

"I should have respected your wishes." 
With that I turned and walked away, the 
maintenance mechs passing me on Iheir 
way to clean up the mess Worth had 
left. 



Wo, 



orth wasn't at the next practice 
. We played two on two, Barney 
and me against Tbmoko and Shem, an 
even match. We'd been skating hard for 
twenty minutes when the red light over 
the hatch flashed. Whoever was coming 
in had clearance, or his palmprint 
wouldn't have opened the hatch. I had a 
feeling I knew who it was. 
Everybody stopped skating as the 



hatch was flung to one side. In stepped 
Worth, bullish face and neck unnatu- 
rally red from consuming some stimu- 
lant or other. 

Attila glided down onto the clay. 
"What do you want?" he asked. 

"Came to scrimmage," Worth said, 
smiling stupidly. 

"Sorry, you're on probation. You're not 
supposed to be in here at all." 

Worth winked at him co n sp i rat ori ally. 
"Coach, I'm the best player you ever 
had." 

"Even if thai were true, it wouldn't 
matter." Atlila stood in his way, his dark 
brow furrowed deeply. "Now get out of 
here, or things are going to gel bad for 

Worth's grin turned to a grimace. He 
looked at me then, with an expression of 
pure hatred. He backed off, and in a 
moment he was gone. 

We all stood staring at the closed 
hatch. 

"All right, all right," Attila said, "let's 
get back to work." 

My skates were buzzing, so I leaned 
forward into the dav hillocks. The unli- 
gravitons floated me over the artificial 
surface, and I was eager to show what I 
could do. If Worth was out, he'd be 
replaced in the next game by either 
Shem or me. 1 had to show Attila that I 
was the one he should put on the clay 
alongside Tbmoko and Barney. 

Apparently, Shem had the same idea. 
He came charging at me, trying to veer 
off at the last possible instant. He miscal- 
culated, and we both splatted into the 
rippling clay. 

"For Christ's sake, Shem!" I shouted. 

I heard laughter. Looking up, I saw 
Barney and Tbmukii doubling over. It 
was the most emotion I'd ever seen 
Tbmoko display, so I couldn't be too 
angr\ . 

I lay flat on my back, embedded in the 
clay except for my feet. My ankles 
floated three inches over the clay, as 
though on water. Tbmoko gave me a 
hand, and, as I stood, I looked into her 
eyes and thought I saw something there 
I'd never seen before: appreciation, if 
not respect . . . maybe even affection. I 
told myself I was dreaming and got back 
into the scrimmage. 

Our collision, which would have cost 
our team two points during an actual 
game, didn't mean a thing to Shem. He 
kept dogging me, usually failing to show 
me up because of his overeagerness. By 
the end of the session, I knew I had the 
edge on him. From the way he was flag- 
ging, I guess he knew it too. 



18 



After practice, I refreshed myself with 
a hot spray and went to the library. 1 
requested holos of classic hoople games 
and sat in a carrel to study them. I went 
back twenty years, to the days when 
Attila was playing. He was much thinner 
then, an agile figure in his skintight suit. 

Attila was playing against a Hoderian 
team who had been dead a long time. 
Their life spans are much shorter than 
ours. They make up for it with speed 
and economy of motion; even with the 
handicap of antigraviton skates, they 
consistently outclassed humans. Speed- 
ing over the clay, they looked like bristly 
blue spiders with outsized craniums. In 
fact, Hoderians are very similar to 
arachnids: their thoraxes accommodate 
the equivalent of the medulla oblongata 
and the midbrain, and their internal 



we were worthy, and the only way to do 
that was to beat them at hoople. 

The game is sacred to them, you see. 
They're tribal, having an agrarian cul- 
ture that at one time during their his- 
tory made constant warfare, one island 
against the other over their sparse 
crops. This had proven too costly in 
terms of lives, and so the game came to 
replace combat. An oral tradition had 
developed, glorifying hoople. That was 
why we didnt have any new holograms. 
The cold, unchanging reality of holo- 
grams just wasnl the same as the end- 
less mythic retellings of great hoople 
games. The Hoderians wouldn't play if 
there was a camera in sight. 

Five years earlier, the natives had sent 
a delegation to the colony, after we had 
come within three points of them in a 



I must have been gaping at him, the way 
he laughed. I felt as though I'd just had a 
brace of stimulants; no, I'd been deprived of 
oxygen and was getting dizzy. 



plumbing is in the thorax. The thorax 
stores a good deal of methane, the plia- 
ble exoskeleton swelling until the Hoder- 
ian is prepared to release it in a 
measured blast, helping to propel him 
forward over the clay. A full-grown male 
is as large as a German shepherd, and 
though its head is not as large as a 
human's, it is as intelligent as we are. 
Hoderians possess a cellular density in 
their gray matter that effects an electri- 
cal ephaptic communication in their 
neutral transmissions. They have two 
eyes, which make their faces look sur- 
prisingly human, even though they have 
mandibles; and Iwo pinhole heat and 
light sensors are locaied just above the 
eyes. They have eight legs, the set in 
front being smaller and more pointed 
than the other three sets designed for 
carrying and working. 

As I watched those long-dead Hoder- 
ians darting at me in three dimensions, I 
wondered how long ago they had 
started playing hoople, the game named 
after the hooting sound emitted from 
their book -lungs when excited. Hun- 
dreds, perhaps thousands, of years. 
Nobody knows, and the Hoderians 
weren't talking First we had to prove 



hard fought contest. That was when 
they saw a hologram. They immediately 
forbade any further filming of hoople 
and refused to discuss the matter at all. 

I was watching the same game they 
had seen, imagining the battles of ages 
past while admiring the Hoderians' 
incredible grace as they skated on their 
spur-tipped legs. The spurs serve a dou- 
ble purpose, interlocking around a vine 
or branch while the creature is resting. 
That way, he wont fall off while the 
island rocks back and forth on the clay. 
When the Hoderian is excited, as it is 
during hoople and presumably was 
during warfare, a sac near the leg tip 
secretes lubricating oil enabling the 
Hoderian to move easily over the 
smooth clay. Tts eight legs churn furi- 
ously to get up speed, airbag torso expel- 
ling methane — a ridiculous spectacle. 
But then they glide so beautifully you'd 
think they were born on the clay . . . 
which they practically are. Willi their 
bristly blue legs and sagging abdomens, 
they look sort of like animate bagpipes, 
after releasing all their stored methane. 
One's first impression is of spiders, but 
that soon fades and you think of them as 
. . . well, as Hoderians, individuals. I 



watched them skate in those old holos 
until I felt 1 had some sense of their 
rhythms. 

Outside the library, I ran into Attila. 
He was walking alone on the gently 
landscaped slope of the torus. 

"Checking up on me, coach?" I asked. 

"To tell the truth, Jay," he said, show- 
ing bright teeth in a grin, "I was looking 
for you." 

"What a coincidence." I gestured at the 
library. "I was just looking at you." 

"You mean those old holos? Those 
were the days, when the colony was 
new, back before the new wheel up top 
was added." He paused and looked 
thoughtfully about. "I'm the first coach 
to have players who were born here, 
you know." 

He was getting at some point, in his 
roundabout way, so I waited for him in 
silence to hasten the process. 

"Tomoko and Barney are greal players, 
but they're from Earth. It's going to 
mean a lot to people that you or Shem 
will be playing in the next game, not just 
skating backup." 

"I guess so." Maybe Attila was trying to 
let me down easy, 1 thought. Just 
because Shem hadnt done so well in the 
scrimmage was no reason to think he 
wouldn't be chosen; after all, he'd been 
on the team longer than I had been. 

"What I'm trying to tell you, Jay," he 
said, nodding gravely, "is that you'll be 
starting against the Hoderians in just" — 
he checked the time — "a little less than 
forty-eight hours." 

I must have been gaping at him, the 
way he laughed. I felt as though I'd just 
had a brace of stimulants; no, I'd been 
deprived of oxygen and was getting 
dizzy. Gravity no longer held me to the 
ground. I was floating. When I finally 
touched down again, I said, "Isn't this 
kind of short notice for a game? Not that 
I'm complaining, you understand." 

"The natives sent word they want it 
this way," Attila said, suddenly serious. 
"That's not the only unusual thing, 
either. They dont want any substitu- 
tions. Each team fields three players, 
and that's it." 

"Why?" 

"We figure they're a little shaken up 
about our team coming so close last 
time, and they want a chance to really 
give us a beating. But with the Hoder- 
ians, you never know." 



Ohem didn't make it to the last prac- 
tice session before the game. There 
were only the three of us, no scrimmag- 



ing, just a few exercises and some drills. 
After Altila wished us luck, we sprayed 
ourselves clean and went to the c 



Since Shem wasn't there, I sat bv 
myself. 1 felt certain that Tomoko was 
watching me while 1 ate. Everytime I 
gazed across the crowded commissarv, 
she was staring right at me. I wanted to 
go over and talk to her, but 1 was too 
proud after what had happened last 
time. Finishing my meal quickly, I went 
straight home. 

The entire gangfam was waiting for 
me when 1 got there. Sativa Quinn had 
sculpted a Hoderian victorv talisman, a 
Stylized Figure made from clay. I ceremo- 
niously added il to our shelves of genu- 
ine and imitation Hoderian icons and art 
objects. It took me a while to find a spot 
for it among our crowded collection, hut 
T finally did, amid much applause. My 
twelve other brothers and sisters had 
prepared nice things to eat and drink. I 
didn't have the heart to tell them I'd 
already had dinner, so I sampled every- 
thing and thanked them all. I truly 
appreciated what they'd done, but at the 
first opportunity 1 excused myself and 
went off lo bed, knowing they'd under- 
lay berth was on the colony's outer 
curve, the window facing Hoder everv 
few minutes as we spun in space. I mar- 
velled at the red-splotched planet we 
orbited, feeling almost as though Id 
never seen it before. Hoder is much like 
Earth in many ways, they say, and its 
sun is much like Sol. But Hoder is some 
five million kilometers further from its 
sun than the homeworld is. It's a cold 
place, except for those hot spots and 
clayhowls, and there's not much life 
away from the volcanic heat except for 
lichen. But in the clayhowls, life is abun- 
dant, with the Hoderians at the top of 
the food chain. It's a little smaller than 
Earth, so hydrogen escapes easily from 
the atmosphere, which is thin but 
breathable. Earthers say it's easier to get 
around on Hoder, since gravity is only 
seventy per cent what it is on Earth and 
the planet has no moons. From the col- 
ony, it was a mottled white-and-reri egg, 
with a tint of blue green here and there. 
1 lay staring at it with my head on my 
pillow, dreaming of the adventure I 
would have there tomorrow. 

Someone touched me, and 1 awoke 
with a start. "Huh?" 

At first 1 thought I was dreaming. It 
was Tomoko. I started to get up, but she 
pressed her palms against my shoulders, 
"It's all right, Jay," she said. 

20 ABES 



Imagine our surprise when we climbed 

aboard the bus and found Worth sitting 

(here, gear in the overhead rack. He grinned 

at me malevolently as I took my place on the 

bench opposite him. 



"Is it time to go down to the surface?' 
asked. "Did i oversleep?" 

"No." She got into bed with me. 

"What are you doing?" I asked, now 
fairly certain I was still dreaming. 

"I've come to spend time with you 
until the game." 

"You have? How did you get in here?" 

"Your brothers and sisters let me in. 
They didn't think you'd mind." She 
kissed me. "Now relax and enjov vour- 
self." 

And that's exactly what I did. 



Bel 



'efore Tbmoko and I loaded our 
gear onto the bus, we rubbed Major 
Hoople's belly for luck. The Major is a 
top-hatted cartoon character painted on 
the bus, in honor of the game. The cold 
lights of the hangar would soon give 
way to the orange sun. Barney and 
Attila were nowhere in sight, but we 
assumed they'd be along shortly. Imag- 
ine our surprise when we climbed 
aboard the bus and found Worth sitting 
there, gear in the overhead rack He 
grinned at me malevolently as I look my 
place on the bench opposite him. 
"What's the matter, kid?" he said. "Aren't 
you glad to sec me?" 

"Not particularly. What are you doing 
here, anyway?" 

"Havent you heard? Barney had an 
accident." 

"What?" 

"it's true." Attila came through the 
hatch, 

"What happened?" I asked. 

"A fire in his gangfam hive." 

"Did he make it?" Tomoko asked. 

"Yes, but he's badly burnt. He's going 
to need extensive skin transplants." 

"Couldn't you get anybody else?" I 
looked right at Worth. 

"Shem is nowhere to be found." 

So Worth was going to play in spite of 
everything. I wondered if he'd been 
anywhere near the scene of the accident 
and what had become of Shem. 



"It's time lo go," Attila said. 

As the hangar doors slid open, we saw 
the stars through the forward ports. 
The thrusters fired, jolting us out of our 
reverie about poor Barney, and then we 
were on our way down to Hoder. It was 
a silent ride, Tomoko sitting next to me 
while Worth and T glared at each other. 
My stomach was doing flip-flops. 

The sun pecked over Hoder, an orange 
crescent that soon became a disc, bril- 
liant but too far away to provide much 
warmth to the frozen planet below. 
Volcanic action made the difference, 
though the sunlight was sufficient for 
photosynthesis. 

Now the bus arced down to close 
orbit, skimming the thin atmosphere. 
The curving ice fields were pierced by 
volcanic caldera yawning towards the 
sky, blue-green algae clinging to their 
slopes. But these were only the largest 
volcanoes, here where ice -sheets hun- 
dreds of kilometers thick covered most 
of the planet. Sensors had detected vast 
arrays of regular objects under the ice 
near the north pole, which some people 
claimed were the remains of an ancient 
civilization. Perhaps Hoder had once 
been closer to the sun, and the natives 
had not been forced to lead such a mean 
existence, permitting them to build up a 
civilization. They must have built their 
cities in the polar region when some 
natural calamity started to push them 
away from their sun, since it was the 
warmest place on the planet due to 
Hoder's pronounced axial tilt. It was all 
speculation, but we hoped to learn more 
about them through scientific inquiry 
and diplomacy. The latter was where 
hoople came in. If we could ever win a 
game, they'd have to consider us their 
equals. Then they might start confiding 
in us a little more. 

The bus slowed, and the glaciers 
seemed endless. But at last we reached 
the edge of the gaming claybowl, a red 
rippling gash beyond the snow. Huge 
chunks of granite, basalt, and quartz 



were buoyed up by the thickness of the 
clay and the constant upward pressure 
of volcanic gases. We came lo a complete 
stop over one of the largest islands, a 
slab crisscrossed with blue-green vegeta- 
tion. These were the Hoderians' crops, 
flowering vines stretching from one 
massive tree to another over every avail- 
able inch of space on that precarious 
floating slab. We had chosen this partic- 
ular island because it had a rocky shelf 
just a few meters above the waves. We 
could organize our gear there. 



/~Ys the hatch opened, we caught a 
glimpse of some natives, hanging upside 
down from vines. In a few hours, they 
would be regaled by grand tales of the 
game we were about to take part in. 

"Good luck,"Attila said as we fastened 
our lines and prepared to go down. I 
doubted that he had much hope for us: 
a novice, a madman, and one reliable 
player. 1 was determined not lo let him 
down. He patted me on the shoulder as T 
squatted at the hatch opening. I was the 
last to drop down, as usual. At first it 
made me giddy, huge hubbies swelling 
and exploding, coming up lo meet me. 
Then I was so close that a skimmer 
fluttered its membranous wings to avoid 
running into me. It was in pursuit of a 
flock of tiny wavehuggers and appar- 
ently hadn't noticed me until it heard 
the whine of the bus's engines and 
looked up. 

I was just three or four meters over 
the clay now, so close that big waves 
blocked out the distant ice floes. 1 
dropped my gear into Tomoko's arms. 
She and Worth stood on the bare rock 
ledge staring up at me, their faces dis- 
proportionately large as I dangled above 

1 rappelled the rest of the way, until 
my boots slapped against rock. My line 
slackened, I undid the clasp and let it go, 
securing my gear to a gnarlv mo I pro- 
truding over the ledge. I sat down on 
the rock, unpacking my skates and put- 
ting them on. 

"Everybody ready?" 

1 was surprisingly relaxed, though I 
wouldnt say I wasnl nervous. The only 
sound was my breathing, that and the 
constant rumbling from the bowels of 
Hoder. My mask was a familiar smell of 
plastic and my own body odor. My ther- 
mal suit was comfortable. I was as ready 
as I'd ever be, despite the percussive 
pounding of my heart. I nodded to 
Tbmoko, touching a point on my wrist 
console and feeling the hum of skates as 



they started up. I was lifted magically 
off the ground. 

"Let's go!" We jumped over the side 
and onto the clay as a unit, a team. The 
clay rolled up and curled over our 
heads. It took me a moment to gel mv 
legs coordinated, hut then i was skim 
ming across the bucking clay, ready for 
anything . . . even a bubble. 

"Here they come." Worth's sneering 
voice crackled in my helmet communit. 
"Too bad Barney's not here." 

I chose to ignore that remark. I 
watched out for opponents. I saw 
Tbmoko and Worth perched at the sum- 
mit of an ephemeral mountain. I was in 
a trough below them, unable to see 
much of anything. But the bottom rose 
swiftly and became a cresting wave. 
They were below me; three blue, skat- 
ing bagpipes with eyes. 

Their arrival meant that the game had 

"Take your positions," Tomoko said. 
The three of us were skating abreast 
about fifty meters apart. I crooked 



moment's notice. 1 didn't have long lo 
wait. As the wave we rode cascaded 
downward, the trough the Hoderians 
were on emerged. We faced each other, 
us on the way down and them on the 
way up. Their mandibles opened, their 
strangely humanoid mouths forming 
into circles as they shouted, "Hoo-ple, 
hoo-ple, hoo-ple. , . ," 

They suddenly shot off in three differ- 
ent directions at once, leaving me in awe 
of their dazzling speed. I leaned into the 
wind as the ground rose again. \'ot half 
a klik further on, a huge wound opened 
in the clay dead in front of me. 1 skated 
faster, firing myself past a trembling red 
mound and . . . over the gash. 

"Good jump," Tomoko said. "We drew 
first blood, one point." 

Worth grunted disparagingly, but I 
paid no attention. I was exhilarated. This 
was the first time I'd scored in a real 
game, and it was far more thrilling than 
any practice leap could ever be. I 
doubted that an experienced player 
would have given it a second thought, 
but when you're actually over the 




chasm, your skates have nothing to 
work against. If you miscalculate, you 
don't make it to the other side, and then 
you're buried inside that rubbery gorge. 
The clay's weight would crush you to 
death instantly. 

"Thanks, Tbmoko," 1 said. 

Worth answered for her. "Save it for 
the bubbles." 

1 resented that, but he was right. Bub- 
bles couldn't be simulated in our prac- 
tice chamber. I'd never attempted a 
jump anywhere near thai size. The one 
I'd just made was comparatively minor. 
My confidence was building, though; I'd 
be ready for a bubble when the time 

A Hoderian appeared on (he crest and 
skaled to within three meters of me. I 
could see his glittering, purple irises 
very clearly. Our eyes locked for an 
instant before my opponent veered 
abruptly away. I didn't see the swell as 
quickly as he did, and even when I did, I 
didn't realize what it was at first. I was 
awestruck as that huge embolism bulged 
out of the clav. Ten, twelve, fifteen meet- 
ei-s high and just as wide, it rose over 
us. It was a bubble. 

The Hoderian's legs scrambled, its 
abdomen swinging from side to side as it 
zigzagged. His body swelled to twice its 
normal size and expelled methane, gli- 
ding up the curved bubble's side. The 
bubble trembled expectantly, about to 

The Hoderian flew over the top just as 
tlie bubble exploded. Hot clay flew and 
orange gas spewed out as it vanished 
behind the bubble's outpourings. 

"Five goddam points!" Worth bellowed. 

I said nothing, being somewhat taken 
aback by the ease with which the native 
had negotiated that bubble. I steeled 
mvself . should another swell out of the 
clay. I was going straight for it when I 
got the chance, no matter how scared I 
was — and 1 was plenty scared. You 
had to go for it, you see; if you didn't, 
you'd probably never get another 
chance to play hoople. 

"In front of you, Jay," Tbmoko said. 

I tried to stay cool, skating up a 
mound so 1 could see everything in the 
immediate area. But the mound unex- 
pectedly rose straight up. I was standing 
right on top of the bubble itself. 

Panicked, 1 skated down the side as it 
swelled higher and higher. The sun was 
blocked out as the bubble's shadow fell 
over me. If I didn't get into position fast, 
I'd never make it. I knew a maneuver 
that might work. It was my only chance. 

Skating up the nearest mound, I 



jumped as I reached its slowly breaking 
crest, spinning my body in midair so 
that 1 came down facing the opposite 
direction. I'd watched enough training 
holos to gauge the time it would take. I 
could still make it. 

"Don't lose it," Tbmoko said. 

It wasn't far now, the bubble already 
starting to quiver. If 1 just kept going 
straight on at top speed, I should 

Something flew by me as though I 
were standing still. It was a Hoderian, 
scuttling in close and sliding up the 
bubble's curve right in front of me. 1 
turned away as the native soared over 
the bursting bubble. 

"Eight points!" It was Worth again. 
"Eight points." 

His addition couldnt be faulted. Five 
points for the bubble jump, and three 
points for my opponent cutting me off 
without touching me while I was in 
scoring position. I was ashamed, angry 
at Worth for rubbing it in, but I some- 
how managed to keep quiet. 

The score stood thirteen to one; our 
single point was the gash leap I'd made. 
That point hardly mattered, and I wasn't 
going to fool myself that it did. 

A Hoderian showed up high on a 
crest, scurrying back and forth on its 
multi-jointed, knobby legs as though it 
were challenging me. I skated a little 
closer, watching for openings in the clay. 

"Tbmoko!" Worth shouted. 

Tbmoko streaked off to her left, 
towards a swelling in the clay. She 
reached the forming bubble in a smooth 
slide, just as its dome began to emerge. 
She spiralled around it playfully, slowly 
working her way to the top. She was 
almost there, the telltale trembling 
beneath her feet signalling the imminent 
explosion. She suddenly arced towards 
the top. The bubbled boomed as she 
went over, her slim figure obscured by a 
spume of gas. 

Had she made it? For a moment 1 was 
certain she hadn't. I squinted through 
the noxious vapor, but I couldn't see 
anything except the bubble's messy 
remains, huge lumps sinking into the 

Then a graceful skater slalomed out of 
the orange gas. 

"Tbmoko, that was fabulous," 1 said, 
just as Worth groused, "The score is still 
thirteen to six." 

"We can count," Tomoko said. "Thank 
you." 

A hooting sounded through my mask. 
The Hoderian team was skating in wide 
loops, working their way toward us. 



"Now they're going for gloi'v," Tbmoko 
said with certainty. 

It looked as though she were right, the 
way they were moving steadily in. 1 
wouldn't have been surprised if they'd 
cut right through our ranks and headed 
for the nearest island, to end the game 
now that they had a commanding lead. 
On the other hand, they wouldn't get 
much sport out of that, and they loved 
their sport. Then again, with only six 
points to our credit, we'd forfeit our 
right to visit any Hoderian village al least 
until the next game. That might appeal 
to them as much as prolonging the 
agony today. 

1 saw a bubble swelling like an angry 
blister, to my right. 

"It's yours, Jay," said Tbmoko. 

If I went straight for it, I figured, I'd 
be there too soon. I worked my way 
back and forth between two furrows, 
timing it so that I'd be at the base at just 
the right moment. If I waited too long, 
I'd be forced to lake the downside of the 
curve. That wouldn't do; I'd be sent 
sprawling on the clay. 

All I could hear was my own breath- 
ing, quick and ragged, underscored by 
the bass rumbling from under my feet. 
The bubble was coming up right on 
schedule, still low enough to be in the 
shadow of an enormous wave. I was 
within ten meters now, moving closer, 
closer, closer . . . time to go for it. 

1 was in a trough. It began to rise 
swiftly, the overhead wave curling 
towards the bubble. I could see the tiny 
sun shining feebly through the space 
between them. 

Something skimmed over the top of 
the breaking wave. When the curl was 
only two or three meters over the trem- 
bling bubble, the player jumped. The 
bubble exploded as he flew over it, a 
perfect jump. I was so close I was pelted 
by clods of hot clay and had to stagger 
blindly away so I wouldn't fall in the 
hole left by the bubble. I was stunned, 
,'iliiuisi sickened, not because I'd been 
cut off again, but because the skater 
wasn't a Hoderian. 1 had been cut off by 
my own teammate. 

"Worth!" Tbmoko shouted. "Why did 
you do that?" 

"To make sure we got some points," he 
replied from within the trailing orange 
cloud. 

"We lost two points because you cut 
Jay off," Tomoko said. "If you had just let 
Jay have it, we'd have five points — we 
only get three now." 

"Thirteen to nine," said Worth, skating 
into sight. "Better than thirteen to six, 



[Worth] leaned forward just as he 

reached the top, but his position was off just 

a hair. He was in the air when the bubble 

exploded, all right, but he had gone off to 

one side instead of straight over. 



which would still be the score if you'd 
let Kruschev go for it." 

So he wanted to humiliate me that 
badly, did he? Willing to throw away 
paints. He really had lost sight of the 
game's purpose. 1 was furious, but I 
managed to control my temper. 

"lb your left, Jay," Tomoko said. 

I turned just in time to see a Hoderian 
scatter a flock of wavehuggers, their 
squawks hurting my ears. My opponent 
executed a quicksilver gash leap, putting 
them ahead by anolhor point. Neverthe- 
less, I was relieved. The Hoderians still 
wanted to play, in spite of our incompe- 
tence. The three of them capered on a 

While they frolicked, the clay rose 
behind them. It was a bubble, coming 
up fast. One of them was on it in a trice. 
The creature's gangly legs were scrab- 
bling madly for a moment, methane 
jetting from its rear. Then the legs were 
locked in position, as he glided smoothly 
up and over, with impeccable timing. 

His teammates skated back and forth 
until he emerged from the funnel of 
orange gas left in the bubble's wake. 
"Hoo-ple," they bleated. "Hoo-ple." 

"Nineteen -nine," Worth said. 

"Spread out," said Tomoko. "Find 
action wherever you can. We'll catch up 
to them even if we have to do il a point 

The Hoderians were way ahead of her 
on that. No sooner were the words out 
of her mouth than one of them — and 
then another right after him — scored 
a gash leap. The score stood twenty-one 
to nine. Our chances were slipping, but 
Tbmoko refused to say die. 

With something akin to a Hoderian's 
sixth sense, she roved the clay and man- 
aged to position herself perfectly for the 
next bubble. She was up and over with 
as much grace as any hoople player IVe 
ever seen, human or Hoderian. 

Unfortunately, a native matched that 
score with a bubble jump before my 
ears had stopped ringing from our joy- 



ous whoops. 

"We might as well hang up our skates," 
Worth said as the Hoderian skated out of 
the mist to join its hooting teammates. 

' All we need is two bubble jumps and 
two gash leaps, 1 ' 1 said, "and the score is 
tied. The game's not over yet." 

"We might as well hang up our skates, 1 ' 
Worth repeated, "with you on the team, 
Kruschev." 

"Shut up Worth," Tbmoko said. "If you 
don't like being on this team, then get 
off the clay." 

According to the rules, we could play 
with only two on the team if we wished. 
Worth muttered something incompre- 
hensible, but he didn't skate away. He 
would finish the game, no matter how 
hopeless it seemed. 

A Hoderian look off like a shot. A gash 
had opened, and it was over while the 
three of us were still arguing. 

"See that, Worth," I said. "If you hadnt 
been whining, one of us could have — " 

"That goes for you, too, Jay," Tomoko 
snapped. "This is a team. We dont fight 
among ourselves while we're on the 
clay." 

My face was hot, and I fell queasy 
with shame. I was doing the kind of 
thing I criticized Worth for, jeopardizing 
our chances because of a personality 

"We've got to score fast," Tbmoko said. 
"When the Hoderians get this far ahead, 
they start losing interest," 

Only a couple of minutes passed 
before the next score, a gash leap. The 
point went lo our opponents. The 
Hoderians skated back and forth, mock- 
ing us. 

A bubble rose behind them while they 
capered on the surging clay, and Worth 
darted through their ranks. Before the 
natives could position themselves he was 
up its curved side, legs bowed, helmeted 
head in profile. He leaned forward just 
as he reached the top, but his position 
was off just a hair. He was in the air 
when the bubble exploded, all right, but 



he had gone off to one side instead of 
straight over, 

Tomoko and I skated back and forth, 
waiting for the orange mist to subside. 
Worth groaned from beyond the gas- 
eous veil. 

"Worth, are you okay?" Tbmoko asked. 

"My ankle . . ." he grunted. 

"Can you skate?" 

"Dont think so . . . it's pretty bad." 

Tbmoko and I were skating abreast of 
one another now. 1 looked al her and 
saw that she was peering off into the 
orange cloud clinging to the clay. I knew 
what had to be done, and I knew 1 had 
to do it before she realized what I was 

I started skating right into the gas. 

"Jay!" Tomoko shouted. "Where do you 
think you're going?" 

"Tb help Worth," I said, without slow- 
ing. 

"You can't see in there. If a gash opens, 
you'll be killed ." 

"Worth will die if I don't gel him out of 

"Wait for the gas to disperse," she 
ordered. 

I ignored her, skating through a 
trough where the wind couldnt get at 
llic lingering gas. I was skating blind, 
but I moved fast, trying to guess where 
the hole was left by the bursting bubble. 
It looked as though an orange ghost 
haunted the claybowl. If I were lucky, 
the hole might have sealed over by now, 
but it wasn't likely, judging from the size 
of that bubble. 

"Worth," I said, "I'm coming for you." 

"No, too dangerous . . . wait till Ihe gas 
clears away." 

1 kept skating, knees bent, head and 
shoulders leaning forward. I zigzagged, 
looking for Worth. Where was he? 

My foot struck something. A lump of 
clay from the burst bubble, too irregu- 
larly shaped for my skates to work 
against. I somersaulted and landed flat 
on my back, splatting painfully into the 
clay. The stuff tippled along my spine. 1 
tried to gel up, but the wind was 
knocked out of me. 

"Jay, are you all right?" It was Tomoko. 

I tried to catch my breath, gasping, "I 
flipped over, but I'm okay. 1 ' At least I 
thought so. My limbs were sprawled out 
on Ihe clay, my feel levitating Ihree 
inches in the air; at least my skates were 
still working. I rolled over onto my stom- 
ach, getting onto my hands and knees. 
My gloves sank into the clay. By tum- 
bling backwards, I was able lo get on my 
feet. I stood on my skates, wobbling a 
little, and started slaloming around the 



z:s 



sinking clods. Visibility had improved a 
great deal, and, as I started through the 
wafting gas, I saw that my fall had saved 
my life. A huge, ragged hole lay dead 
ahead, just now beginning to seal. If I'd 
kept skating blind, I'd have fallen right 

Looping around it, I weaved in and out 
between the clods. Suddenly 1 caught 
sight of the prostrate Worth through the 
dissipating mist. 

"1 see you, Worth," i said. "I'll be right 
there." 

I skated up to him. He was holding his 
ankle, the bad foot laying on the clay. 
One of his skates had failed. I helped 
him to his feet, being careful to see that 
he favored his good left foot. I put my 
arm around his shoulder, and together 
we skated on three legs. 

"No, I'm taking you to the nearest 
island," I said. 

"No, you've got to stay in the game. 
We're too far behind." 

"It doesn't matter." 

"Of course it matters," Worth insisted 
in a pained voice. "We have to show 
these bastards we can play hoople." 

"We're a team," I said. "We can play 
hoople some other time." 

As we came out of the orange gas, I 
saw that the entire Hoderian team was 
keeping pace with us. Ibmoko was 
nowhere in sight. It was hard to skate 
swiftly with Worth hanging onto me, but 
we were making steady progress. The 
natives started to circle us, literally skat- 
ing rings around us. 

"They're taunting us," Worth said. 

"I dont know.'' I sensed something 
else. But what? A warning? Encourage- 
ment? I wasnt sure, but somehow it 
didnt seem that they were mocking us. 

"Hoo'ple," they belched, skating so 
close I could see the blue bristles on 
their inflatable hides, stiff and thorny. 

And then I saw what they were trying 
to tell us. Dead ahead a bubble was 
rising. Just behind it was an island, a 
gray and blue-green slab of safety in the 
distance. 

This was a bubble like no other I'd 
seen. It was twice as big as the one I'd 
had my eye on early in the game. No, 
three times as big. It rose in perfect 
synchronization to our approach, as if it 
had been waiting on us all along. 

"Jay, what are you doing?" Worth said. 
"We've got to go around it." 

"No," 1 said. "We're going over the top." 

"Well never make it." 

"Oh, yes we will." 

We were close now, so close the bub- 
ble's immense shadow fell over us. 



"All right, Jay," said Worth, "let's go for 
the glory." 

Two blue blurs streaked in front of us 
from either side, both of them hell bent 
for that bubble. They collided, and we 
were barely able to avoid them as they 
both went spinning on the clay, chitter- 
ing and squeaking in frustration. 

The way was clear now. We hit the 
base an instant before the downside 
emerged. At that moment, the third 
Hoderian reached the bubble. But it was 
too late, the creature turned nearly 
upside down as the downside swelled 
out of the clay. He fell on his back, blue 
legs churning furiously. 

Worth and 1 soared up and over, and I 
permitted myself the luxury of exulting 
in the sensation of flying. It seemed at 
that moment that I was alone in the 
universe . . . sailing over the bubble's 
dome . . . soaring. . . . 

The hot blast of the exploding bubble 
at my back brought me back to the 
claybowl. I still had my arm around 
Worth's shoulder, and the booming force 
behind us carried us past the collapsing 
bubble. Worth groaned in agony as we 
came down onto the clay, and I felt his 
body sagging. He wasn't going to make it 
to the island. 

"Hell of a jump, thirteen points." It was 
Tomoko, on Worth's other side, slipping 
her hand under his armpit. "Let's go for 
the glory." 

It was just a few hundred meters to 
the island, and we moved steadily, if not 
swiftly, towards it. Once the whole team 
was standing on dry land, the game was 
over. With the thirteen points we'd just 
scored, and the two the natives had lost 
by cutting each other off, we had the 
lead by one point, twenty 'Seven to 
twenty -six. 

"They're coming up fast," Tbmoko said. 

Glancing over my shoulder, I saw our 
opponents scrambling, expelling meth- 
ane and gliding towards us at a terrific 

"They want to kill us," Worth moaned. 

The Hoderians caught up with us and 
skated around us in a circle. They 
peered at us with their purple eyes, and 
then shot off towards the island at top 
speed. By the time we got there, the 
Hoderians were scuttling up and down 
its rocky terraces, hooting loudly. 

They had ended the game themselves. 

"They must not have realized we were 
ahead," Worth said as Tbmoko and 1 
helped him onto the lowest rock ledge. 

'This scoring system was worked out 
to their satisfaction twenty years ago. Of 
course, they realize it." 



"Hoople," they bellowed, "hoople, 
hoo-ple." 

Hoderians began to pour out of the 
vines' shadows onto the jagged ledges. 

"They're welcoming us," 1 said, "cele- 
brating our victory." 

We turned off the power to our 
skates, sitting on the rocks and holding 
onto roots. Tbmoko said something, but 
the natives were hooting so loudly I 
couldnt hear what it was. Young and old 
alike some of them carrying pet wave- 
huggers in their mandibles, the Hoder- 
ians danced around us until the bus 
came to a stop overhead. I couldn't wait 
to see Attiia. 

I fastened the dangling line to Worth's 
middle. "They'll have you fixed up in no 
time," I said. 

"Thanks, Jay," he said, grimacing in 
pain. "You saved my life. Why?" 

"We're teammates," I shrugged. 'What 
else could I do?" 

"You're my teammate, all right," he 
said. "Thanks." 

A few seconds later, Worth disap- 
peared inside Major Hoople s ample 
belly. Tomoko fastened a line around her 
waist and embraced me. "That was a 
foolish thing you did, Jay," she said. 

"Maybe so, but I'm giad I did it." 

"So am I." I caught the beautiful glint 
of one of her rare smiles as she was 
pulled up. 



JL he Hoderians were silent now. As I 
caught the silvery line dangling from the 
bus, one of them scuttled through the 
still crowd towards me. Its two spurred 
forelimbs were extended, and from 
their tips dangled a clay victory icon. I 
recognized the player who had beaten 
me to that bubble early in the game; 
there was a certain knowing look in his 
eyes that told me it was him. 

For a moment i didn't know what to 
do. The native looked at me with 
warmth in its intelligent eyes now, and I 
reached out to accept the gift. "Thank 
you," I said, moved by this signal of 
honor. "Thank you all very much." 

They began hooting again as I tucked 
the icon into my thermal suit and fas- 
tened the line around my waist. I 
intended to give it to Attiia on behalf of 
the whole team. 

From above, as I was pulled up, the 
island was green and gray, blue natives 
milling by the thousands, shouting, 
"Hoo-ple, hoo-ple, hoople." 

I knew I'd see them again very soon, 
but now it was time to go home. A 






MCOBRA 



A UNIVERSE™ Stlente-FicHon Game Module 




II. The Adventure 




by Nick Karp 

NGOOSE 

Cobra 

M UNIVtRSt Stieate-Fktion Game Module 

I. Introduction 

Mongoose and Cobra is an adventure scenario 
designed for the UNIVERSE science-fiction role-play- 
ing game. A gamemaster (GM) is required to play this 
adventure; Mongoose and Cobra cannot readily be 
used as a solitaire adventure, and works best with 
four to seven players (not including the GM). More 
than seven players can participate in the adventure, 
but the number of characters that will be able to tra- 
vel in one group will necessarily be limited by the 
capacities of the vehicles used, forcing some players 
to sit out parts of the adventure. Fewer than four 
players can attempt the scenario, though they might 
have trouble dealing with the more dangerous situa- 
* ! nm presented. 



Contents 

I. Introduction 36 

II. The Adventure 36 

1. Introducing Ihe Scenario 

2. Briefing for Ihe Players 

3. GM's Outline 

in. The Voyage to Chara 38 

4. The Marcus Aurelius 

5. Caplain Chavez and Crew 

IV. The Chara System 29 

6. Gardenia 

7. Magrito and Kelm 

V. The Settlements 31 

8. Oceanus 

9. Southcap 

10. The Exploration Camps 

VI. Outbase Gamma 35 

VII. The Monopole Mine 37 

VIII. The Raiders of Kelm 38 

IX. Random Encounters 39 

X. Future Adventures at Chara ...39 



Mongoose and Cobra takes a much freer approach to scenario 
construction than most pre-packaged adventures, giving the 
players more "strategic" choices to consider and giving the GM 
more latitude in injecting his own ideas. Even the mission 
itself is ikjI rigidly defined; depending on the courage and 
ingenuity of the players it could be anything from a simple 
quest to gather informalion to an armed assault. 

A number of suggestions for introducing the adventure and 
mission to the characters are provided in Section 1. The GM 
should read over the section, and select whatever ideas pre- 
sented there (or of his own devising! he feels best meet the 
needs of his campaign. 

Before beginning play the GM should read through the 
entire adventure to familiarize himself with Ihe main charac- 
ters, and to gel a feeling for the flavor of the situation. Play 
mav begin bv presenting the material in Section 2, which 
contains the background informalion available to the players. 
The GM should modify or add to the briefing as seen fit. A 
more detailed overview of the situation is provided for the GM 
in Section 3. 

1. Introducing the Scenario 

Rather than restrict the GM to one method of introducing the 
adventure, a number of possibilities are provided in this sec- 
tion for motivations to travel to the Chara system, where the 
adventure takes place, and the reasons that the characters 
undertake the mission described in this module. 

The Chara system is at Ihe fringes of explored space, and 
has only recently been colonized. The settlements are expand- 
ing and need persons skilled in jusl about any fields. Stellar 
Prospecting, Inc. the company sponsoring Ihe colonization of 
the system, will pav standard fare for any reasonably respect- 
able character seeking employment. 

Characters who are skilled with weapons or in unarmed 
combat, who also have relatively clean criminal records, could 
apply for positions as security personnel in the system. Char- 
acters who have had trouble with ihe authorities of their 
world mighl find themselves deported to Chara. 

If the GM is running a continuous campaign, the characters 
might receive word from a friendly non-player character 
detailing the opportunities available in the system. This idea is 
especially recommended if there aren't very many player 
characters, as the NPC then becomes a potential companion. 

The characters could also become involved with Stellar 
Prospecting, Inc., belter known as StellarPro, through any 
business connections they might have. The company has a lot 
of radioactives to be transported and sold, and needs supplies 
to expand operations in the Chara system. If any of the char- 
acters is particularly wealthy, another possibility is that Stel- 
larPro has offered a block of stock to him, and the character 
may wish to examine the company's operations firsthand 

If the group of characters includes any ex -military person- 
nel, they might be hired by the Federation of Planets to scout 
out Ihe Chara system as a location for a military base. The 
Federation might also send the characters to Chara to observe 
the behavior of company officials there, and report on any 
\ inlations of federation law. 

Finally, some friends or relatives of the player character. 1 ) 
might live in the Chara system, providing an additional reason 
for the journey there. Other possible reasons for adventuring 
may be developed as desired. 



2. Briefing for the Players 

The characters are traveling lo Gardenia, a size 4 world in the 
Chara system (-22, -3.-20). Gardenia was first colonized as a 
scientific colony because of the abundance and variety of flora 
and fauna there. A few years ago a substantial lode of high 
quality radioactive ore was discovered, and exploitation of the 
world's mineral resources began. 

More than 500 people now inhabit Gardenia, mosl of them 
at Oceanus, near the rudioactives mine. Oceanus is a buhble- 
city underwater near the continental shelf of one of Garde- 
nias land masses. The radioactives mine itself is dug into a 
nearby sea -cliff. A landing strip for air vehicles and stream- 
lined spacecraft floats on pontoons above the city. 

The second largest settlement on the planet (called 
"Southcap" because it is located on Gardenia's south pole) is an 
agricultural station, growing food for all of the colonies. In 
addition to Oceanus and Southcap, three outbases exist. Each 
camp is the center of operations for scientists and prospectors 
exploring the unvisited hinterlands of the planet. 

The air on Gardenia is thin, but rich in oxygen because of 
the density of the planet's plant life. The air pressure is two- 
thirds earth normal, while the oxygen content is slightly 
higher than Earth's. The air unfortunately is contaminated by 
aerial plankton, which float in clouds throughout the planet's 
atmosphere. If the plankton are inhaled, the immediate effect 
is that the inhaler begins to hallucinate; in the long term, 
hreathing the plankton causes serious respiratory diseases. 

All exploration and colonization on Gardenia is done under 
the sponsorship of StellarPro. which has purchased a 99-year 
title to the world's mineral resources. StellarPro is a known 
and reputable firm which has explored and colonized four 
other worlds before Gardenia. 

Aside from Gardenia, the Chara system has two asteroid 
belts, a gas giant called Aegaron. and one other plane; with a 
moon. The asteroid belts contain refineable silicon and metals, 
but have not been exploited because of Chara s extreme dis- 
tance from the heavily settled parts of space. The other 
planet, Magrito, is out at the periphery of the system. No 
resources have been discovered on it or its moon, Kelm, 
although extensive exploration has yet to be conducted. 

Since the colony was founded on Gardenia, supply and ore 
ships coming in and out have been hounded by space raiders. 
These pirates have harassed shipping for over a decade in a 
large volume of space, of which the Chara system forms only 
a part. Apparently the system's distance from heavily traveled 
space and the absence of an Astroguard base in the system 
make it attractive for the buccaneers. 

As a result of the frequent attacks, StellarPro now sends 
ships in less frequently but with better protection. The ship 
on which the characters will enter the Chara system is the 
Flute-class Marcus Aurelius, which is believed to be fast 
enough to escape pirates who attack her. 

The characters have been provided with passage aboard the 
Aurelius, although accommodations u ill he light as the ship is 
not very large. Each character can bring a maximum of 80 kg 
baggage with him (additional baggage, robots etc., can be 
brought at a cost of 10 mil/kg). 

3. GM's Outline 

The material presented in Section 2 is basically accurate, but it 
does omit two important details. The first is the true nature of 
the Marcus Aurelius. The Aurelius is not just a well-defended 
transport vehicle, but is actually a cruiser in the Federation 



Navy, the Conqueror. The officials of StellarPro responsible for 
the Gardenia colony have become alarmed by the frequent 
pirate raids on shipping to and from the Chara system. They 
requested a military escort for the company freighter that was 
scheduled to be going to the system, but the Navy commodore 
receiving the request decided lo lay a trap for the pirates. The 
raiders would almost surely ignore a known Navy ship, but 
they might attack a Flute-class ship with company markings. 

The Conqueror was therefore camouflaged and repainted 
with company symbols to become the Aurelius, the "mon- 
goose'' to the pirate's "cobra." Complete secrecy has been main- 
tained for fear that the pirates would get word of the plan; 
only the Navy commodore, the captain and crew of the Auiv- 
iius/Conqucror. and three company executives know about the 
ship's mission. To prevent rumors from spreading in the com- 
pany as to why the scheduled transport vessel is not going lo 
Chara, the Aurelius is carrying both cargo and a limited num- 
ber of passengers; word has been given out that the Aurelius 
was hired from another firm as the most secure way of get- 
ting the vital cargo through to Gardenia. 

The second important bit of information absent from the 
characters' briefing is that the pirates are based in the Chara 
system. The Chara system was selected by the pirates nearly a 
decade before it was first visited by any other party as a sys- 
tem unlikely ever to be colonized. The only marketable 
resources the pirates found in their survey of the system were 
radioactives on Kelm, Magrito's moon. The radioactives on 
Gardenia itself were overlooked, and the planet's contami- 
nated atmosphere weighed against its being colonized given 
the absence of any mineral wealth. The pirales shielded 
Kelm's radioactives with lead to prevent their being discov- 
ered by prospectors, and settled into ihe system under the 
assumption thai they would remain undisturbed there. 

Even after the radioactives were discovered on Gardenia 
and the planet hegan to be colonized, the pirates remained 
relatively isolated on Kelm. The moon was so far outside Ihe 
rest of Ihe system that, after a few resource hunters' visits 
failed lo turn up any significant minerals, the moon was left 
untouched by the flow of people into the system. 

When it became clear thai Gardenia was to be settled, the 
pirates managed to infiltrate the colony with a number of 
their own people. With these spies, Ihe pirates have kept 
informed of activities on Gardenia and have been able to 
acquire the schedule for supply and ore ships traveling to and 
from the system. 

One post of particular importance in Ihe colony administra- 
tion which is held by a pirate agent is that of colony communi- 
cations officer. This position is more vital on Gardenia than on 
most colony worlds, because of the dense aerial plankton 
described in the players' briefing. The plankton make radio 
communication between distant points on the planet's surface 
impossible. Tlie communications officer on Gardenia main- 
tains contact with the outlying bases through his psionic 
powers. All information and orders going between the main 
colony at Oceanus and the other settlements on the planet 
have lo go by messenger or through the communications 
officer, who is privy lo much confidential news. 

This access lo secret information has recently paid the 
pirales well. An expedition operating nut of Outpost Gamma 
(one of Ihe colony's outbases in Gardenia's northern hemi- 
sphere) stumbled across a heavy magnetic flux while on a 
zoological mission in the hills a few hundred kilometers north 
of the base. After careful investigation, the scientists discov- 
ered that the source of the flux was a substantial deposit of 



lodestone, interspersed with veins of invaluable magnetic 
monopoles. The discovery was reported in the outpost's next 
communication with Oceanus, but the pirate communications 
officer did not transmit the message to the colony commander. 
Instead, news of the find was relayed to the pirate's base on 
Kelm. 

The opportunity to seize the monopoles was too valuable for 
the pirates to pass up. Flying in from Kelm, they descended on 
Outpost Gamma. The base was seized without a fight and its 
occupants were either shot or taken prisoner. The pirates 
then began mining the monopoles, using equipment brought 
from their base and the slave labor of captives they had taken 
from the outpost camp. 

Oceanus, the main base, remained ignorant of what was 
going on. The pirate communications officer continued to give 
regular and unexciting reports on the status of the outpost, 
and the pirates mined the monopoles without being molested. 

This situation could not be maintained forever, though. 
Outpost personnel on Gardenia are subject to a regular bi- 
annual rotation. The next rotation is scheduled to occur about 
one week (earth-lime) after the day the characters touch 
ground on Gardenia. The pirate communications officer, antic- 
ipating the rotation and realizing that some ploy was neces- 
sary before the rotation was due, has decided to inform the 
colony commander that he cannot make contact with the 
outbase. The pirates have plans to fix Ihe outbase to make it 
appear as though it had been attacked and destroyed by one 
of Gardenia's larger animal predators, concealing the pirates' 
attack on the base and taking suspicion off the shoulders of 
the communications officer. 

When the colony commander is told of the base's "silence," 
she will send a reconnaissance parly out to the base in one 
colony's ornithopters to find out what happened. This recon 
party could easily be the player characters themselves. 

Besides these two omissions, Section 2 does leave out a num- 
ber of finer details about Gardenia and the Chara system. 
More information should be available to the characters if they 
search around for it. The GM should answer any reasonable 
questions if the characters conduct research on the system. 
The Star System Log for Chara and the World Log Sheets for 
the planets in the system may be examined by the players 
upon request. The players should not be shown the smaller- 
scale maps, however. 

Before the characters embark for Chara, they may make 
any purchases or sales they desire at Ihe world that they are 
currently on. The Marcus Aurelius should depart for Chara 
shortly thereafter. 



III. The Voyage to Chara 



The trips to and from the jump-points on the way to Gardenia 
will be fairly uncomfortable. Due to energy limitations, the 
Marcus Aurelius will not employ constant acceleration for the 
duration of Ihe journey. Instead, she will build up speed dur- 
ing the first part of the trip, coast for Ihe majority of the voy- 
age, and only deccelerate as she nears her destination. Using 
this plan, the formula for travel time is 85 times the square 
root of d hours, where d is the length of the journey in astro- 
nomical units (AUs). Two Energy Blocks will be consumed for 
every five days of travel (averaging the energy used at the 
heginning and end of the trip out over the entire trip-time). 
See the box on Enrrgv Expenditure for more details. 

An unpleasant consequence of this energy -saving manuever 
is that the middle I liree -filths of each leg before and after the 
hyperjump will be weightless. There is a (50 [10 « NW Gravity 



Skill Level])% chance thai a character will experience bouts of 
extreme discomfort during these parts of the trip (roll once 
each week of weightlessness). 

Quarters for the Marcus Aurelius's passengers will be rather 
cramped. The ship is a military vessel, and the only accommo- 
dations available are crew -grade bunkrooms. The passengers 
will be provided with decent food and entertainment, and the 
ship's crew will make every effort to alleviate the discomfort 
of the quarters, but passengers accustomed to first -class or 
even standard-fare cabins will still find the bunkrooms a bit 
unpleasant. 

Other passengers will be going with the characters lo Chara 
for their own reasons, and may be generated by the GM as 
desired. In order to keep secret the fact that the Aurelius is a 
military ship, the passengers will not be permitted to leave the 
passenger pod. Captain Chavez will apologize for the crowd- 
ing, but says this is necessary lo keep (he passengers out of 
the crew's way. The door from the pod to the main hull of Ihe 
ship will be kept locked. 

The GM may roll normally for accidents or deep space 
encounters, but the success of the hyperjump should he auto- 
matic if the adventure is to get underway. 

4. The Marcus Aurelius 

The Aurelius has a Flute-class hull carrying an arsenal pod, an 
augmented jump pod, an energy pod. and a crew pod; half of 
the crew pod has been stripped and given over to cargo space. 
All of the pods are Armor Class 2. 

The Aurelius's main hull is standard, as per the specifica- 
tions in UNIVERSE™ game Section 31,0 and DELTAVEE™ game 
case 4.9, except thai the cargo hold of the main hull has 
undergone some modification and now contains a reserve 
energy supply (30 units) for the ship. The Aurelius's hull can 
no longer carry any cargo except for items small enough to be 
stowed in the corridors and bunkrooms. 

The Aurelius (as ihe Conqueror) has been in service as a 
militarv ship for \~< years, ami has seen a good amount of 
action. Her exterior is marred in places from battle damage, 
but has been repaired. None of her scars are more than super- 
ficial, however; the ship is fully functional. 

The crew pod in which the ,t we/in,ss passengers will be 
passing ihe voyage contains one 6-man room, three 4-man 
rooms, and one 2-man room. One of the doubles will be occu- 
pied by the stewards serving ihe passengers (see Section .1). 
The characters and the Other passengers will have to decide 
how the remaining rooms are divided up. Other facilities avail- 
able in the pod include; a kitchen, well stocked with edible 
but bland food; a common room with comfortable furniture, 
card tables, and a movie projector and screen; a common 
study, with a few books and three video-terminals connected 
to the main ship's computer; a unisex rest room with facilities 
for six people; and a first-aid station. 

The half of the crew pod given over to cargo (as noted 
above) contains spare parts for the colony's air circulation 
equipment and ornithopters, pressure sealanl for joints in 
Oceanus 's dome, a crated mining robot, light-weight moldable 
radiation shielding, diamond-crusted drill-bits, and a variety of 
other equipment. The cargo hold can only be entered from 
the exterior of the ship. 

5. Captain Chavez and Crew 

The Marcus Aurelius has a crew of 15, counting all officers 
and sailors. The crew is standard complement for a Federa- 
tion light cruiser. All personnel are career Navy men. 



The commander of the Aurelius is Captain Martin Chavez, a 
short, stout man in his late thirties. Captain Chavez's phvsical 
appearance is not very impressive. He has curly black hair, 
over-large ears, and a smile that seems glued to his face. He 
cultivates an image of naive and unworldy simpieness that 
disarms potential adversaries and makes his true aliiiitv the 
more noteworthy when it shines through, The Aurelius's crew 
all know (heir captain well, and have a deep respect for him. 
His characteristics are as follows: ST 3; EN 5; DX 7; AY 8; IN 
10: MP 3; LD 12: EM 5; AC 6: SS: Skilled Tech Family Skills: 
Urban 4; Environ-Deep Space I All environ types 41: Gravity- 
NW 4; LT 1; HY 2; EX 5; Temp NL; Astronomy 3; Asteroid Min- 
ing 2; Pilot 3: EVA 2; Gunnery 1: Space Tactics 7. 

Captain Chavez's order's regarding the voyage to Chara are 
as follows: he is to transport the materials and passengers 
aboard his ship safely to Oceanus and return with whatever 
cargo or passengers are requested by the colony commander 
there. If engaged by pirate raiders, he is to fight back, but not 
to risk his ship if he is outgunned. At his discretion he may 
remain in the system for up to three months, patrolling near 
the jump points and looking for clues concerning the pirates; 
this he will do. The code-name for this anti-pirate operation is 
"Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," named after a storybook mongoose 
described by Rudyard Kipling. 

The Aureliuss First Officer is Jim Stuart, a tall, handsome 
man in his mid-twenties. First Officer Stuart's characteristics 
are: ST 8: EN 5: DX 8; AY 5; IN 7; MP 2; LD 9; EM 8; AG 8: SS: 
Local Establishment Skills: Urban 1; Gravity NW 3; LT 2; HY 0; 
EX 2; Temp NL; Environ FL/LV 2; Pilot 4: Gunnery 2; Missile 
Guidance 3; Spaceship Tech 1; Energy Tech 1; EVA 1; Space 
Tactics 4. 

The other two members of the crew that the characters 
may deal with on the trip to Gardenia are Ivan Marichev and 
Maxim Dynep, the stewards serving the passenger pod. 
Although both speak Universal, throughout the vovage thev 
will communicate with each other entirely in their native 
Russian and will pretend to have minimal comprehension of 
other languages, to discourage detailed conversation with the 
passengers that might lead to an accidental revelation of the 
Aureliuss true mission in the Chara system. 

The Aurelius's psionic navigator is Sharon Ilia, a dark Egypt- 
ian lady of surpassing skill in her profession. If she or another 
psionic has occasion to employ psionic communication with 
the pirate communications officer at Oceanus, she will have a 
vague feeling of treachery about him. Relevant characteristics 
are: IN 10: MP 4; Skills: Life Sense 1; Navigation 9; Psionic 
Boost 2; Psionic Communication 3; Laser/Stun Pistol 1. 

Other crew members aboard the vessel (and their Skill Level 
in the task of their profession! are: two technicians 14 and 7), 
a pilot 161, two gunners 12 and 8), one spaceship technician (9), 
and four missile guidance personnel (2, 4, 5, and 7). Another 
member of the crew is Alf, a robot with a Brummagen II chas- 
sis and spaceship tech system. He is kept in a locker on the 
underside of the ship's hull and will only come out if needed 
to conduct external repairs while the ship is in deep space. 

When the Aurelius makes her jump safely to the Chara 
system, she will be beset by two pirate vessels, the Sword- 
class Condor, and the Piccolo-class Kite. The raiders will be 
waiting 1,000,000 km (50 DELTAVEE game hexes) inside the 
nearest jump point to Gardenia, and will attempt to intercept 
the Aurelius when she passes by at a moderate speed. The 
pirates will pursue the ship at high acceleration, thinking she 
can be caught. 

Both Captain Chavez and Karag Machar, the pirate com- 



mander, will be very cautious when an engagement occurs. 
Both will quickly realize that their ships are evenly matched 
and that a victory could only be achieved at the cost of unac- 
ceptable damage to his own ship. The two commanders will 
spar about at long range without reallv coining to grips. Karag 
Machar will then dock the Kite to the Condor and break off 
for Gardenia and the monopole mine (See Part VIII at high 
speed. Captain Chavez will pursue only slowly because of 
energy limitations and the inability of his passengers to sustain 
lengthy periods of high acceleration. 

Limited patchwork repairs can be performed at Oceanus if 
any damage is done to the Aurelius. if the Condor or Kite are 
damaged, they can either be repaired at the moonbase on 
Kelm (See Part VIII), or by the theft of supplies from Oceanus. 



IV. The Chara Syste 



Chara is a GO sunlike star located 30 light years from Sol at 
coordinates -22,-3,* 20 on the UNIVERSE game's Interstellar 
Display. Because of Chara's extreme distance from most colo- 
nized worlds, the system remained unexplored and uncharted 
until the arrival of Karag Machar and his raiders (See Section 
3 and Part VIII). The first exploration of the system by people 
other than the pirates was conducted by a survey vessel 
owned and commanded by a wealthy and eccentric naturalist, 
ten years before the events of this adventure. 

A cursory examination of Magrito, Aegaron, and the two 
asteroid belts revealed little of value there. No mineral wealth 
was found on Gardenia during the preliminary survey, but 
Boris Tyshenko, the naturalist, was intrigued bv the animal 
and botanical specimens lie found there. A biological explora- 
tion of the planet was begun and a small scientific colonv was 
founded on the world's south pole. 

For six years, exploration of the planet continued at a low 
level of intensity. Then radioactives were discovered by a 
party of scientists circumnavigating the Tyshenko Sea tof 
which environ nlO is a part). The scientists were moving 
north along the coastline in an amphibious vehicle when a 
huge spout of water erupted several miles offshore. Scientists 
tracked down the cause of the sudden geyser in the hopes of 
finding some huge marine leviathan. 

The scientists instead discovered the water in the area of 
the geyser was tinged with radioactivity. Undersea exploration 
was conducted, and it was found that the geyser was caused 
by the sudden release of boiling water trapped in subterra- 
nean chambers healed by a vast lode of radioactive minerals. 
Boris Tyshenko sold the mineral rights to the planet to Stel- 
larPro (retaining the right to engage in further biological 
exploration) and the exploitation and colonization of Gardenia 
was begun. 

The other planets in the Chara system include Vertiprox, 
Gardenia's small and lifeless moon; Aegaron a huge (size 9) 
hydrogen /ammonia gas giant with 15 satellites of assorted 
sizes; Magrito, a small world at the icy fringe of the system: 
Kelm, Magrito's volcanic moon: and two asteroid belts. 
Aegaron, its moons, and the asteroids are not described in 
detail here, and are believed to be of little value. Future 
adventures (See Part X) may occur there, however. 

In addition, the Chara system is wreathed in a glowing halo 
of cometary bodies torn from the system's asteroid fields in 
Aegaron 's monstrous gravitational force. Several comets will 
be visible in Gardenia's night-time sky on almost any evening 
(atmospheric conditions permitting), and shooting stars are 
common. Vertiprox's pitted surface is largely a result of the 
density of comets and meteors in the system. 



, Z'.i 



6. Gardenia 

Gardenia is a small, green world, 0.8 AUs front Chara. The 
single most noticeable feature about Gardenia is the amount of 
vegetation on the planet. Undergrowth and larger plants 
cover the world's landmasses, algae fill its seas, and even its 
air is permeated with minute organisms, plankton. The chief 
factors underlying the vigor with which plant life prospers on 
Gardenia are the planet's warmth and its humiditv. 

Temperatures on Gardenia range from a high of 65 degrees 
to a low of 1(1 decrees Celsius, depending on the time of day. 
Seasonal variations are fairly moderate, and rainfall is heavy 
across most of the world. 

Regardless of the variability of the planet's temperature, on 
the average Gardenia is hot. One result of this is that the mois- 
ture content of the planet's atmosphere is very high. The 
warmer regions of the planet feel like a steambath to the 
naked skin, and a thick mist hangs in the air. Gardenia's plants 
love the tropical heat and humidity, and grim- to gigantic pro- 
portions with amazing rapiditv. 

Characteristics common to most of Gardenia's plantlile 
include brilliantly -colored flowers. large pale ieav es and 
extremely long, ihin stalks. Tn Gardenia's murky air, a plant's 
leaves have to be large and set high above the mists to capture 
as much sunlight as possible. 

Another distinctive feature of Gardenian plants is a high 
degree of mobility ;mil responsiveness to the environment. 
Many plants have sensorv organs permitting them to hear or 
smell and fibrous muscles that allow them to react to potential 
danger. Several species have the ability to shout stinging quills 
at predators; others "sweat" acidic or bad-tasting chemicals in 
the presence of natural enemies, while some merely fold their 
leaves and flowers lo attract as little attention as possible. 

Gardenia's aerial plankton (mentioned in Sections 2 and 3) 
thrive on the sunlight and moisture of the upper air, and form 
dense clouds that sometimes shadow the land beneath them. 
Most of the time, the plankton form a smog-like, omnipresent 
haze, but on occasion (15% chance per 60-hour day) their 
thickness will cause the air to become opaque for 2-12 hours. 

Although the plankton are not parasitic, and Gardenian 
creatures do not .suffer when the plankton grows [hick, some 
of the chemicals composing the microorganisms are unhealthy 
lo man, and have the hallucinogenic and respiratory effects 
described in Section 2. GMs may arbitrate the hallucinogenic 
effects as desired. In addition, skin exposed to the Gardenian 
atmosphere for more than an hour will develop a greenish 
tinge only removable by surgical skin-grafting or exposure to 
high levels of radiation. Many of the colonists in Oceanus and 
the other bases will have "Gardenian suntans" of this type. 

Another effect of the plankton cover is that long-range radio 
communication is rendered impossible. Short-range communi- 
cation (less than 400 km) has a chance of malfunctioning equal 
to Id/41% (where d is the range of the transmission in km), 
vehicles orbiting the planet may still exchange signals with the 
hemisphere facing them, because the broadcast only travels 
through a narrow thickness of plankton when going to (or 
from) a point outside the planet's atmosphere. 

In addition to Gardenia's abundance of plahtlife, the world 
has a large assortment of animals. Most are vegetarian, but 
the planet has its share of meat-eaters, some of which are 
dangerous to man. The murkiness of the atmosphere makes 
vision a less than dependable asset, so most of Gardenias ani- 
mal-life have highly -developed senses of smell and hearing. A 
few of the species observed are almost blind. Some of Garde- 



described in Part IX. 

Gardenia has few natural resources, though I hose present 
are extremely valuable. Many Gardenian plants and a few- 
animals are edible. A root or fruit chosen at random has a 
60% chance of being safe to eat, and a 30% chance of provid- 
ing some nutrition if the first roll is made. The corresponding 
percentages for animal meat are 20% and 70%. 

A variety of Gardenian plants are useful in other ways 
besides as food. A number of vines have fibers suitable for the 
manufacture of rope, and the long, straight Gardenian trees 
grow perfect lumber for furniture or construction. None of 
the planet's vegetable resources are profitable enough to 
exploit at this stage in the colony's development, though exper- 
iments with hybrids are in progress at Southcap Isee Section 
11). The mineral resources available on the planet are 
described in Section 10 and Part VII. 

Gardenia has one small (size 0) moon called Vertiprox. Verti- 
prox is a heavily cratered moon orbiting 100,0(10 km from the 
planet's surface. As a result of the moon's nearness, Gardenia's 
oceans have unusually variable tides; the difference in sea- 
level between high and low tide can be as much as ten meters. 

No life may be found on Vertiprox, but frozen subterranean 
moisture is present. The moon has few other resources of 
note Temperature on Vertiprox varies between the sunnv 
sides 150° C, and the nightsides -70° C. 

7. Magrito and Kelm 

Magrito is the outermost and smallest world of the Chara 
system. Chara is far away and dim, and Magrito and its satel- 
lite Kelm are very cold and dark. With only each other and an 
occasional comet for company, they drift through space some 
six billion km from their sun. 

Magrito's surface is nigged and appears lifeless Isee Part IX). 
Water exists in a frozen state mixed with ammonia ice. At - 
100° C, water and liquid ammonia bubbling up from the plan- 
et's molten interior freeze instantly to dirty ice. Much of the 
planet's surface is covered by glacial formations. 

Magrito has a ihin and poisonous almosphere of methane, 
sulfurous compounds, and inert gases: the plancl's volcanoes 
emit a steady How of noxious fumes, maintaining an atmo- 
spheric pressure of 5 pounds per square inch. 

Local temperatures will prove a strain on standard expedi- 
tion suits unless they have been specifically modified for the 
extreme cold. The GM should roll once every two hours a 
character is in the open on the planet's surface; there is a 15% 
chance each check that the suit's beaters will break down. 
Characters will die and freeze solid in seconds without heat. 

Magrito's mineral resources (by environ) are; n03-Phospho- 
rous; n05-Titanium; sOl -Phosphorous; s02-Silicon; s03-Phos- 
phorous; s05-Silicon, Titanium. The only substance potentially 
worth mining on the world is the titanium, but even this is 
impure and inaccessible, making it unlikely that mining opera- 
tions will be begun for a long time to come. 

Kelm orbits Magrito at a distance of 800,000 km (40 DELTA- 
VEE game hexes). Kelm's surface is even more rugged than 
that of Magrito. In several large areas, whole sections of the 
moon's crust have collapsed upon caverns once filled with 
volcanic gas. Without any atmosphere to wear them down, 
huge slabs of jagged rock lie end on end. In other sections of 
the moon's surface, immense crevasses can be seen (where the 
crust has not yet fallen in). Any detonations of nuclear weap- 
ons in the vicinity of these faults (environ n05) could result in 
a wide-area collapse and "moonquakes." 

Although Kelm and Magrito are equally far from Chara, the 



30 



greater volcanic activily on Kelm makes il warmer than its 
companion. Another consequence of the moon's volcanic nat- 
ure is a tenuous atmosphere of 1 pound per square inch Iwith 
about the same composition as Magrito's). Kelm's gravity is too 
weak to hold air for long, but its atmosphere is constantly 
replenished by fumes leaking from the interior. 

Kelm's resources (by environ) are: n02-Chromium; n03- 
Aluminum; n05 -Chromium, Aluminum; sOl-Aluminum. Envi- 
ron sOl also has radioactives, which are the only resources on 
the moon currently worth exploiting. The radioactives are 
being mined in limited quantities by the pirates, who use them 
to fuel their spacecraft and to provide energy for their base, 
located a few kilometers from the mine and accessable by 
vehicle trains. 

It should be noted that the presence of radioactives is not 
marked on Kelm's world log. This and other omissions related 
to the moon's settlement status were made so that the World 
Logs can be shown to players without giving away important 
information. For the same reason, no mention of monopoles is 
made on Gardenia's log. 



V. The Settlements 



The colonization and exploration of Gardenia is organized by 
two groups: Stellar Prospecting, Inc., and Boris Tyshenko's 
company, Tyshenko Scientific Research, Incorporated (better 
known as Tyshenko Research). Although StellarPro is respon- 
sible for almost all of the colonization of the planet, nearly 
half of the scientific exploration of Gardenia is conducted 
under Boris Tyshenko's sponsorship. 

The five permanent settlements on Gardenia include Oceanus, 
Southcap, and three outbases ("Alpha,'' "Beta," and "Gamma," 
respectively). Oceanus is by far the largest colony, with a pop- 
ulation of slightly more than 350. Southcap is the next largest, 
with quarters for 60 StellarPro employees and the twenty-odd 
members of Tyshenko Research. Each of the outbases is 
staffed by 15 to 20 scientists and support personnel, one-third 
of whom will be away on scientific expeditions at any given 
moment. Tyshenko Research organizes similar exploration 
parties, although all are based at the Tyshenko Research head- 
quarters at Southcap. 

8. Oceanus 

Oceanus is located on the ocean floor, 12 km offshore in the 
Tyshenko Sea Ion the world log it is the settlement on the 
coast of environ n06). The facilities at Oceanus consist of the 
colony dome, the radioactives mine, and a floating installation 
on the surface above the dome. 

When StellarPro made the decision to mine the radioactives 
on Gardenia, a concensus was reached that it made more 
sense to have the miners' quarters on the sea bottom near the 
mine than to base the colony on land and ferry the miners to 
and from the shaft. A pressurized dome would be needed in 
any event because of the contamination in Gardenia's atmo- 
sphere, and having support personnel and equipment close to 
the mine was judged Hie safest and must economical way of 
establishing the colony. 

Oceanus's dome is composed of three watertight layers of 
high-tensile sheet plastic, built onto an alloy frame well capa- 
ble of withstanding the enormous pressure exerted by the 
three-kilometer depth. Each layer of the dome is reinforced to 
prevent implosion even if the other two shells should fail. The 
dome's sheet plastic has a projectile armor rating of 6 and a 
beam armor strength of 4. 



TWo airlocks lead out of the dome: one on the ocean floor 

for the entry and exit of the colony's two balhyscape subma- 
rines (equipped with reef-walker type extendable legs); and 
the other at the apex of the dome, where a gondala arrange- 
ment is connected to Oceanus's surface installations. No air- 
locks for individual divers lead out from the dome, since no 
diver could survive the water pressure three kilometers 
beneath the surface. 

The interior of the dome is spacious and well-lit. Twenty 
large structures serve as living quarters for the colony's 150 
miners and 200 auxiliary personnel, and another fifteen build- 
ings house administrative offices, technical shops, laborato- 
ries, mess halls, and recreational facilities. Much of the 
interior of the dome remains empty, as the colony is not yet 
near its projected size. A football field has been marked on the 
plastic floor in part of the unoccupied space. 

In the center of the dome is a large, cylindrical building 
rising all the way to the ceiling. An underground railway from 
the mine leads to an elevator shaft beneath the base of the 
building. Miners go to and from the mine via this elevator and 
the railway, and processed radioactives (carefully shielded) are 
transported to the gondola at the top of the dome and to the 
surface in the same way. 

The mine itself is a kilometer and a half distant from the 
dome, dug into the side of a cliff that climbs abruptly to 
within a half a kilometer of the surface. The bubble was built 
far from the mine because the water in the immediate vicinity 
of the radioactives is heated to such high temperatures that it 
would weaken the material of the dome. 

The mining operation is more than an extraction shaft. 
Interstellar shipping is expensive enough to make it necessary 
to refine the radioactives before transporting them. The ore 
dug from the mine is ground, purified, and converted to high- 
grade fuel before it ever leaves Oceanus. The actual digging of 
ore from the earth is done almost entirely by machines; the 
radiation at the core of the mine is too intense for even a well- 
protected man to dig for long. The mining operation produces 
one metric ton of fuel every three and a half hours, working 
around the clock: full-capacity production is expected to be 
nearly four times that rate in the future. Once the fuel has 
been processed, il is shipped to the surface to await the 
freighter that arrives every 12 Gardenian days (about one 
Earth month) from Lelande 25372 (-14,-7,-4). 

Spacious storage facilities for the colony's produce are avail- 
able on the surface installation floating above the dome. The 
facilities on the surface ^rc large, including an HOU-inclcr 
landing strip capable of handling the largest streamlined 
spacecraft. Sophisticated tracking and computer guidance 
systems are located near the strip to make up for the poor 
visibility afforded by Gardenia's atmosphere. 

The float iiig installation also has hangars and maintenance 
facilities for two Terwillicker 5000 landing craft and four 
ornithopters. The Terwillickers are used as scouting vehicles 
and low-payload shuttles; they are the modified (non-burster) 
model. The ornithopters are a smaller' and slower version of 
the machine described in the UNIVERSE game. 

I he landing strip and other facilities are suspended on the 
surface by pontoons and are kept in place by several hundred 
cables running down to the ocean floor. The facility is not 
rigidly held against storms or the tide, but reacts flexibly to 
changing weather patterns and sea currents. A computer 
system monitors the pressure exerted on each of the installa- 
tion's cables, and adjusts their length and the buoyancy of the 
pontoons as necessary to maintain stability. 







WORLD LOG: Size 4 

Gravity: 0.7 (LT); Action Round Movement: +2 






V 










7 






n03 



ft 








ardent a TYPE Tolerable 
MOONS (nr.) 1 DISTANCE FROM STAR 0.S A.U. 
ATMOSPHERE Thin (C , ) MEAN TEMP 3 7 ° C 
HYOROGRAPH 55% DAY LENGTH 60 hrs. 
HUMAN POPULATION 500+ 
SETTLEMENT STATUS Active Exploration 
LAW LEVEL 1 CIV LEVEL 4 
SPACEPORT CLASS Vz 



n05 







Y) 


: « 




(J 


A 


^■1 




1 J 




j.^^ 1 




n04 



WORLD LOG: She 2 

Gravity: 0.2 (NW); Action Round Movement: 8 





NAME Kelm TYPE Hostile MOONS (nr.) — DISTANCE FROM STAR 40 A,U, 
ATMOSPHERE None MEAN TEMP -S0°C HYDROGRAPH 0% DAY LENGTH N 
HUMAN POPULATION None SETTLEMENT STATUS — LAW LEVEL — 
CIV LEVEL — SPACEPORT CLASS — RESOURCES Chromium, Aluminum 



Star System Log 

CHARA (type GO), 30 LY from Sol, coordinates (-22, +3, +30) 
Orbit <AU> Name Size Type Reso 



Interstellar Routes; Green 
Capita] World: Gardenia 



None; Amber — None; Red — Lelande 25372 (-14,-7/4) 
Federal Fleet: None Star port: Vz at Gardenia 



Moons 



.5 


Corona Proxima 


Asteroid Belt 


Hostile 


Poor (?) 


— 


1.0 


Gardenia 


4 


Tolerable 


Poor 


1 


2.0 


Aegaron 


9 


Gas Giant 


None (?) 


15 


2.5 


Corona Longior 


Asteroid Belt 


Hostile 


Poor (?) 


«- 


40.0 


Magrito 


3 


Hostile 


Poor (?) 


1 



Graphics by 



UForee 



WORLD LOG: Size 



Gravity: None (NW); Action Round Movement: +8 

NAME Vertiprox TYPE Hostile MOONS (nr) — 
DISTANCE FROM STAR 0,8 A,U. ATMOSPHERE None 
MEAN TEMP 150 °C (day) HYDROGRAPH 0% 
DAY LENGTH 4 HUMAN POPULATION None 
SETTLEMENT STATUS — LAW LEVEL — 
CIV LEVEL — SPACEPORT CLASS — 
RESOURCES None 




D 





WORLD LOG: 
She 3 

Gravity: 0.4 (NW); 
Action Round 
Movement: +4 



m 



Flat 



Hill 



Mountainous 



Peaks and Cliffs 



light Vegetation 



U oc if In 



Forest 



Jungle 



Marsh 



Ice Cap 



Volcanic 



Water 



Major River 



Human Settlement 



Craters 



50 meter Contour 

(Small-scale maps only) 

Electrified Fence 
(Small-scale maps only) 



Vehicle Track 

(Small-scale maps only) 



NAME Magrito TYPE Hostile MOONS (nr.) 1 

DISTANCE FROM STAR 40 A.U. ATMOSPHERE Poison 
MEAN TEMP - 1 00° C HYDROGRAPH D% DAY LENGTH 96 
HUMAN POPULATION None SETTLEMENT STATUS — 
LAW LEVEL — CIV LEVEL — SPACEPORT CLASS — 
RESOURCES Titanium, phosphorous 



Oceanus is basically peaceful and well-run. Nevertheless, 
there is some discontent among the employees working at the 
colony, who are upset by the frequent interception of supply 
ships and the consequent hardships and shortages imposed. 
One factor which the miners are particularly unhappy about 
is the shortage of radiation shielding in Ihe shaft. Geiger 
counts are made at frequent intervals and all have been well 
within safety limits, but if anything were to go wrong in the 
mines there is almost no backup shielding available. 

The colonists working at Oceanus are moderately well- 
behaved and law-abiding. There is little crime in the colony, 
and consequently the settlement has only a small security 
force. Ten men and a six robots have proved more than suffic- 
ient to maintain order in the colony. All security personnel 
and robots are armed only with slun-pistols and cudgels; no 
beam or projectile weapons of an\ soil arc permitted inside 
the colonv dome for fear of a puncture. 

The chief administrator at Oceanus and commander of Stel- 
larPro's employees and the resources on Gardenia is Kim Li, 
who has been the colony's chief executive since its construc- 
tion. She is very sharp and has a talent for organization; she 
gets along well with all the senior and intermediate level 
administrators, and is well liked by most other employees. She 
knows everyone in the colony by sight, if not personally. 

Commander Li deals with people in a simple and direct 
manner. Sometimes she is a bit blunt, but she always gets her 
point across. Her characteristics are: ST 4; EN 5; DX 5; AY 2; 
IN 9; MP 3; LD 10; EM 9; AG 8; SS: Skilled Tech Family Skills: 
Urban 4; Grav Lt 1; Temp NL; Environ Fl/Ic 2; Chemistry 2; 
Programming 3; Geology 1; Planetology 2; Biology 4; Compu/ 
Robot Tech 1; Ground Vehicles 1; Diplomacy 3; Economics 1; 
Law 3; Recruiting 4; Streetwise 2. 

A constant attendant of Commander Li is Bruno, her secre- 
tarial robot. Bruno has a Manner olsdf chassis equipped with 
creative Ihought, valet /secretary, recorder, and anti-bio sys- 
tems. Bruno handles a lot of the minor administrative details 
of running the base and can frequently be seen delivering 
papers or gathering information for her. When duties do not 
call, Bruno works on his chess, a game that he finds fascinat- 
ing and is already very good at. 

When Oceanus was founded, five pirates worked their way 
onto the colony's staff so as to keep tabs on goings-on there, 
and to try to minimize exploratory surveys of Magrito and 
Kelm that might lead to the discovery of the pirate base. The 
pirates have kept a low profile, doing their jobs well but not 
outstandingly, and associate little with the other colonists at 
Oceanus, Two of the spies work as miners, one is a low-level 
supply manager, one is a deputy in (he colony's security 
forces, while the fifth, Yasu Aman, is the colony's chief com- 
munications officer. 

Yasu Aman is a powerful psion, once the master of a psionic 
institute at Eta Cassiopeia more than 40 years ago. A power 
struggle for control of the institute developed; Yasu Aman lost, 
was stripped of his rank and authority and expelled. 

Soon after his expulsion, Yasu heard of Karag Machar's band 
of raiders (See Part VIII). Bitter, defiant, and uprooted, he 
joined the group, which was more than glad to accommodate 
a capable psionic navigator. 

Once he joined the pirates, Yasu soon became a powerful 
lieutenant and seemed to become a close friend of Karag 
Machar The psion cultivated the relationship and worked his 
way into Karag's trust. Yasu is now a constant adviser to the 
pirate leader, who has come to depend on the thinker's clever- 
ness and insight. V.isu has gradually emerged as the real 



leader of the pirates, able lo get Karag to do almost anything 
he wants by applying subtle psychological manipulation. 

Yasu is not overly moralistic about the damage and violence 
wreaked by the pirates and makes no attempt to restrain 
them. Like many psions, he is ambivalent towards humans 
without psionic powers, whom he regards as inferior. 

Since he joined Oceanus as the colony's comm officer, Yasu 
has filtered the information passing through him and reported 
selected tidbits to the pirates, whom he contacts daily by 
psionic communication. Although the duties of his position 
bring him into frequent interaction with Kim Li, she has no 
suspicions of him. Yasu is very clever, and is careful to cover 
his espionage well. 

Yasu's activities on behalf of the pirates go beyond simple 
information gathering. He is accomplished at psionic mind- 
control, and on several occasions has used this ability to make 
people do what we wants them to around the base. People are 
aware that once in a while someone will report doing things 
he hadn't intended, but no lives have been lost. 

Yasu uses the standard light jumpsuit issued to base person- 
nel and also wears a turban. Yasu is 67 years old but looks to 
be in his early fifties. His hair is greying and his face is slightly 
wrinkled, but he is still vigorous and alert. His characteristics 
are as follows: ST 3; EN 2; DX 5; Ay 4; IN 12; MP 6; LD 9; EM 3; 
AG 4; SS: Communal Colony Skills: Urban 4; Grav NW 1-3), LT 
4; HY l; Ex -1; Temp HO; Environ FL/LV 6; Mind Control 9; Life 
Sense 6; Navigation 5; Psionic Boost 7; Psionic Communication 
8; Psychokinesis 9; Psion Tech 1; Blades 5. Psionic rigs are 
available to Yasu at the colony, the pirate moonbase, and 
aboard the Condor. 

Yasu keeps aloof from the rest of the colony, doing his job 
but not interacting socially with any of the other personnel. 
Hindustani is his native tongue; when he speaks Universal he 
has a heavy accent. 

9. Southcap 
The first settlement at Gardenia's south pole was established 
by Boris Tyshenko soon after he first arrived at the planet. 
Soulhcap still serves as the head quarters for Tyshenko 
Research's exploration of Gardenia, though the colony has 
been largely taken over by StellarPro personnel. Members of 
(he foundation are still legally independent of the company, 
but all aspects of the day-to-day management of the colony are 
handled by company officials. 

The south pole was selected as the site for a colony because 
of its extraordinary flora, even more varied and exotic than 
elsewhere. Ilanjiemiis animal predators are rare around the 
colony site, due to careful hunting and the colony's placement. 

SteflarPro's facilities at Southcap are entirely agricultural 
and botanical. Sixty acres of fields and a dozen hothouses 
grow food for Oceanus and for Southcap's own consumption. 
By reducing the colony's need for imported foodstuffs, valu- 
able cargo space on freighters traveling to the planet is open 
for materials that cannot be produced on Gardenia, 

StellarPro also conducts botanical experiments at Southcap. 
A number of Gardenian plants are potential exports for the 
colony, so experiments are being performed with hybrids and 
grafts of various kinds. Other research tests plants from for- 
eign worlds in Gardenia's soil and sunlight. 

Tyshenko lieseareh conducts similar botanical experiments, 
although potential profits are emphasized less. The majority of 
Tyshenko Research's facilities at Southcap are devoted to sup- 
porting the exploratory and zoological expeditions based at 
the colony. Holding cages, bio-labs, maintenance shops, and 



34 



homes lor expedition pci'stinnel are tlie main concerns of 
T'vshenko Research at the colony. 

The facilities at Southcap are housed in some thirty -odd 
buildings, each individually pressurized and air-conditioned. 
Half of the colony's buildings are dwellings for five to ten 
people each, while the other half are scientific facilities, agri- 
cultural processing plants, and storerooms. 

Southcap has its own landing pad, though it is much smaller 
than the one at Oceanus. It can accommodate ornithopters of 
the type based at Oceanus, and is also suitable for Terwillicker 
landing-craft and other vehicles requiring only a short run- 
way. Transports from Oceanus arrive every seven days (420 
hours) to pick up food and transfer personnel. 

Boris Tyshenko's private residence is located at Southcap. 
Though the wealthy naturalist is willing to put up with the 
hardships of the camp when on an expedition into the wilds of 
the planet, at home he likes to be comfortable and he succeeds 
admirably. His private yacht, the Integral, makes occasional 
runs to Lelande 25372, carrying the most interesting new 
zoological specimens, and returns with supplies for the foun- 
dation and luxury items for him. 

The Integral has a Corco Mu hull with a jump pod, light 
weapons pod, 3 energy pods, a lander pod with modified 
Terwillicker 5000, a buffered cargo pod, a living cargo pod, a 
bio-research pod, a medical pod, a cargo pod, and a luxury 
cabin. 

An amphibian, two mobile labs, and three crawlers are 
based at Southcap. Most will be away on Tyshenko Research 
expeditions at any given moment, except for the amphibian, 
which is owned by SiellarPro and kept near the base. 

10. The Exploration Camps 
Three small, permanent camps are the bases for StellarPro's 
exploration of Gardenia. Except for a regular bi-annual supply 
shipment and rotation of personnel, the camps operate inde- 
pendently of Oceanus. Each camp has full scientific facilities, 
vehicles, ami a mix of specialists lu make up its expedilinn 
teams. The primary purpose of the camps' exploration is the 
discovery of mineral deposits, but some attention is also given 
to unusual or potentially valuable animal and plant life. 

The first of the camps to be established, Outbase Alpha, is 
located in environ s02. The base is at the bottom of a valley in 
the middle of a large mountain range. Huge, deep canyons and 
sheer, cutaway cliffsides expose layers of rock to direct obser- 
vation and geological interpretation. A variety of semi-pre- 
cious rocks have been found, though no veins large enough to 
mine have been discovered. 

Outbase Beta, the second camp, is located on the rocky 
shore of environ nl2. The base was built there because a 
coral-like creature inhabits the waters along the coast. Unlike 
its earthly counterpart, however, this coral's reefs are com- 
posed of metals instead of bony rock. No particular metal 
seems to be used; the creature extracts whatever metals are in 
the surrounding water and deposits them in the reef. A large 
number of the camp's geological missions are underwater, 
following the reef and sampling it at regular intervals in the 
hope that the composition of the reef will reflect any nearby 
undersea deposits of precious metals. No substantial finds 
have been made yet, although a number of exotic sea crea- 
tures have been captured for study. 

Outbase Gamma is located in environ n06, at the hilly source 
of the tributaries feeding a large river running to the sea. 
Samples of the river's water contained a wide abundance of 
minerals, so exploration of the hills from which it flowed was 



begun. Though none of the resources that the base was estab- 
lished to look for have been found, a lode of monopoles far 
more valuable than all the radioactives at Oceanus was discov- 
ered, leading to the pirate raid described in Part VI. 



VI. Outbase Gamma 



Outbase Gamma consists of a central camp, two outlving 
structures, and a small airstrip. The main camp includes the 
living quarters and scientific facilities of the base, while the 
outlying buildings (set a safe distance away from the camp and 
each other! are a nuclear reactor and fuel depository. 

The main camp consists of eleven structures built closely 
together. The buildings are pre-fabricated, airtight, and win- 
dowless. A pressurized plastic corridor connects the buildings 
to allow transit between them without an expedition suit. 
Each building has its own airlock, however, as protection 
against leaks in other parts of the settlement. 

No humans will be seen in the vicinity of the camp. All evi- 
dence indicates that the camp has been abandoned for some 
time, though the remains of some outpost personnel may be 
discovered (sec belovvl. 

Although the area in which the base is located is heavily 
infested with undergrowth and tall, thin trees, (he ground is 
cleared for a 25-meter radius around the camp and around 
the airstrip and the outlying buildings. The soil in these areas 
has been treated with a powerful defoliant to keep Gardenia's 
plants from infiltrating the structures of the settlement. The 
main camp (though not the other installations! is also pro- 
tected from animal predators by a charged fence encircling it 
at a 100-meter distance. 

What follows is a brief description of the individual build- 
ings in the main camp. Only those details judged particularly 
significant have been included, so the GM should feel free to 
elaborate on the descriptions provided. Parenthesized num- 
bers refer to specific rooms in the structure being described, 
as indicated on the map of the base. 

Crawler Garage: A large, high-ceilinged room ID that con- 
tains a standard crawler. Cabinets containing fuel cells line the 
side walls. A second room (2) contains vehicle maintenance 
equipment equivalent to a Civ Level 8 Vehicle Kit. Enough 
spare parts are available to repair up to "partially destroyed" 
grade damage. Six expedition suits hang on hooks near the 
airlock leading outside. A third room (3) contains additional 
spare parts, a Civ 7 suit kit, a library of the crawler's com- 
puter log tapes, and records of the expeditions it has been on 
since the base was established. 

The Bunkhouses: Rooms 1-6 are bedrooms, each with one 
bed, a closet, a chest, two chairs, and a variety of personal 
possessions. Each bunkhouse also contains a bathroom (7), and 
a living room (81 equipped with comfortable chairs, video 
screens Iwith an assortment of movie tapes), sound equip- 
ment, and tables. The three bunkhouses (A, B, and C) are 
identical, except that rooms 2 and 4 in bunkhouse C are empty 
of possessions and furniture. 

Air-Circulation Plant: The outer room (II contains mainte- 
nance equipment, spare filters, and other materials to keep 
the air-processing plant in room 2 running smoothly. There 
are also monitors of the base's water, electric, refrigeration, 
and sanitation facilities here. Room 2 contains filtered com- 
pressors that draw in air from the outside, purify it, and 
pump it to the buildings of the base through underground 
circulation tubes. An auxiliary oxygen synthesizer is also 
hooked up to the system as a backup when the main system is 
being repaired. 



; 35 



Geology Lab: Rooms 1-4 are offices for the base's four 
geologists. Each contains a desk, chair, small collection of tech- 
nical books, papers, and personal items. Room 5 is a latrine. 
The main lab part of the building 16) contains Civ Level 8 geo- 
scanners, chemicals, tools, and other equipment permitting 
rapid analysis of geological samples, Use of this equipment 
efferlively doubles a character's geology skill level when 
attempting geology tasks in the lab. Room 7 contains samples 
of rocks picked up during exploration, all carefully labeled 
and catalogued for type and area obtained. Room 8 is a store- 
room containing spare tools and chemicals. Room !) contains 
geologic charts of the planets crust for a radius of 1200 km, 
and maps of surface contours for a radius of 800 km. 

Base Commander's Lodge: Room 1 is the living quarters 
for the commander of the outbase, including a bed, chest of 
drawers, footlocker, easy-chair, table, and a small shelf of 
books. There is also a combination safe containing important 
papers, powerful drugs, and a small vial of monopole dust. 
The magnetic emanation of the monopoles are detectable 
(with instruments! from outside the safe, though it cannot be 
determined that the emanations are from monopoles rather 
than standard lodestone. Room 2 is the base commander's 
office, with a largo desk, several chairs, and a video terminal 
hooked up to the computer in the sciences building. Room 3 is 
a bathroom. 

Armory: The inner airlock door is locked by combination. 
The armory itself contains two Civ 8 paint guns, two Civ 6 
paint guns, an arc gun, three pistols, five needle pistols, two 
Civ 8 laser pistols, six Civ 8 slun pistols, two carbines, four Civ 
7needle rifles, right gas grenades (various toxins), two pounds 
of plastic explosive Iwith blasting equipmenil, and ammunition 
and power packs for all the weapons. There are three 
armored vests, one portable force field, and a Civ 8 weapon 
kit. 

Animal Retention: A large room (1) contains metal and 
force cages in a variety of sizes. A number of bins contain 
food substances native to Gardenia, There is a chem synthe- 
sizer (Civ Level 6) on a workbench stocked with a variety of 
organic chemicals, A needle pistol hangs on the wall nearby. A 
large, heavily reinforced cage 121 is available for very big crea- 
tures that might be brought in, while two smaller but still 
substantial cells (3 and 4) are capable of handling creatures 
several meters long, A functioning (though currently 
switched-off) Brummagen I robot with an anti-bio system is 
stored in room 5, while room 6 contains a robot kit and spare 
parts for both it and the sentry robot (see below). 

Sciences Building: Rooms 1. 3, and 4 and the offices of the 
camp biologist and chemists, respectively. Room 2 is a bath- 
room. There is a large bio-chemical laboratory (5), containing a 
Civ 8 bio scanner, a neuro scanner, a Civ 7 chem lab, a Civ 8 
chem synthesizer, a Civ 7 energy scanner, and a Civ 5 basic 
repair kit. Add two to a character's biology and chemistry skill 
levels when performing related tasks in the lab (in addition to 
the bonuses for the kits). Room 6 houses the base computer. 
The room also contains a library of all programs and printouts 
produced by the computer since the base was established. 
Room 7 is the base doctor's office, equipped with a Civ 8 medi 
scanner, a variety of medicines, and two sick beds in sterile 
isolation tents. 

Mess Hall: A large dining-room (1) contains two long and 
one square tables, 20 chairs, and a cabinet with silverware 
and other dining utensils. Room 2 is a fully equipped kitchen. 
A storeroom (3), is filled with crates of food and a large walk- 
in closet. The mess hall is badly damaged; the outer walls of 



the dining room and storeroom are ruptured, and there are 
human skeletons strewn in and about the building. 

The base's full complement of personnel included the base 
commander, four geologists, two chemists, a biologist, a doc- 
tor, a driver, three maintenance men, two handymen, a cook, 
and an energy tech specialist, for a total of seventeen people. 
The base has been unoccupied for more than four months 
(earth-time). All hut seven of the men that were at the camp 
are dead, and those seven are currently captives of the pirates 
at the monopole mine to the north. 

The skeletal remains of the other ten men may be tenta- 
tively identified by certain remarks in their medical records at 
the base, as well as by their clothing (matching it to clothing 
kept in bunkrooms). Though the pirates have tried to disguise 
the murder of the personnel as the act of wild predators, 
careful medical examination will show that some of the bodies 
were shot by laser weapons. 

After the monopole vein was found and the discovering 
expedition returned to the outbase with a report of its find, 
news of the monopoles was sent to Oceanus. Yasu Aman 
received the information, but relayed it to Karag Machar, 
rather than to the colony commander. The pirates decided 
that the monopoles were too valuable an opportunity to pass 
up, and so the Condor, which had been waiting near Garde- 
nia's jump point, departed for the planet at high acceleration. 

Once the pirates were in orbit, a raiding party descended in 
the Kite. The ship landed in the brush nearh a kilometer from 
the camp, using quiet levitator-n pe anti-gravity generators 
for her landing so as not to alert the base. The raiders crept 
into the camp, passing through the electrified fence by a 
small, non-charged door, A patrolling sentry robot was shut 
down easily because, under the assumption that all humans in 
the area were friendly, the 1)ot had only been programmed to 
defend against n on -hum an intruders. 

The raiders then waited at the periphery of the camp until 
the base personnel were all gathered in the mess hall for a 
meal. Hjcv then entered the building. I,i.-.ei s ready, ami 
ordered the assembled diners to surrender. Though outnum- 
bering the raiders nearly 3 to l, the base personnel had only 
their silverware to use as weapons, while the pirates had body 
armor and paint guns. The outpost commander gave the order 
to surrender without a fight. 

One of the bases seventeen men was not at the meal, how- 
ever. Crawler-driver Jostud Holme came into the mess hall 
late, after finishing up some repairs on the crawler. Seeing the 
armed strangers and I he glum faces of his comrades. Jostud 
turned and fled back to the garage before the raiders could 
stop him, and locked its airtight doors behind him. 

Although he had no idea who the strangers were, Jostud 
rightly concluded that the recent monopole find was the rea- 
son for their visit. Acting impulsively, he fixed the crawler's 
engine so that it would break down after an hour or two of 
travel. While the pirates shouted curses and threats from 
outside, he recorded what had happened to the base in the 
crawler's log tape and hid the tape in the vehicle's engine 
where it would be found when the crawler was repaired. 
With no means of contacting Oceanus directly, this was the 
best way thai Jostud saw of helping future investigators from 
the main colony. 

Jostud then put on one of the expedition suits in the mainte- 
nance shop, md tried to flee from the exterior airlock. A 
pirate waiting outside gunned him down. 

The raiders had sixteen captives, and complete control of 
the base. Though the prisoners would be useful to work the 



36 



monopole mine, the Kite's passenger capacity wjs alreadv 
fully utilized. Seven could fit in the cargo hold, protected by 
expedition suits for the short hop up lo the Condor. The resl 
Karag ordered killed by laser fire. 

Rather than loot the camp for iis scientific equipment, Karag 
conceived a plan to disguise what had happened to the base. 
He knew from Yasu Aman that, aside from the pirates and the 
seven remaining captives, no one was aware of Ihe existence 
of the monopolies. A careful search was made of the camp for 
evidence of the monopoles and records of the expedition on 
which they were found, and all were destroyed (or so he 
thought!. The computer disc with the relevant sections of the 
camp log was de -magnetized, and (he computer left on to 
overheat, so that the scrambling would seem accidental to 
anyone checking the computer. Notebooks with written 
records were burned, and all samples of the monopoles and 
the ore in which they were found were taken. 

Two clues were missed by the pirates, however. One was the 
crawler log hidden by Jostud Holme. The second was a small 
vial of monopole dust in a safe in the base commander's quar- 
ters. The raiders did delect the monopoles' magnetic radiation, 
but there was no way of getting into Ihe safe without doing it 
very noticeable damage (the base commander was one of the 
captives who had been slain). Karag contented himself with 
the knowledge that probably nobody at Oceanus could open 
the safe either. Even if the monopoles were found, their pres- 
ence would he a mystery in the absence of any other informa- 
tion about the mine. 

The pirates then set about to conceal their part in what had 
happened lo the base. The camp had been conquered without 
a battle, so there were no visible signs of a struggle to give 
away the fact that humans were involved. The sighting of a 
large and seemingly ferocious predator close by the camp 
gave Karag the idea to make it seem as though the base had 
fallen lo an unlucky raid by one of Gardenia's carnivores. On 
the surface a clever plan, it was carried out clumsily. 

A number of beasts of a suitable species (the "rhinosaur"; 
see Part IX) were rounded up and led into the camp. After 
some goading by the raiders, (he creatures tore open the side 
of the mess hall with their long and powerful horns, ale vast 
quantities of the food in the storeroom, and mauled the 
corpses of the dead personnel who were left in and around 
the dining room. After tracking up the area near the mess hall 
and damaging some of ihe other nearby buildings, all the 
creatures save one were driven away, trampling the (turned- 
offl electric fence as they went. The last beast was killed by 
the machine-gun bullets of the sentry-robot (which the pirates 
reprogrammed), and left on the ground near the mess hall. 
The pirates then tried to wipe away any remaining evidence 
of iheir own presence, and went back lo the Condor. 

At present the camp is very run-down. The interiors of the 
buildings are dusly, and the air circulation and temperature 
control systems have long since broken down, though the 
camp's nuclear reactor is still operating. The plastic passages 
connecting the buildings' airlocks were torn by the rhinosaurs' 
horns, and have deflated. The corpses of ihe base personnel 
and the dead beast have decayed, so that all that remains is 
their bones. Bones and withered plants are also all that is left 
ut several specimens (including another riiinosatirl kept in the: 
animal retention center. 

Some traces of ihe pirates' passing remain, however. A boot- 
print that does not match ihe boots worn by the base person- 
nel may be found in the outpost commander's office, hidden 
from immediate view behind a desk. Laser marks, though 



covered with dirt and paint, may still be seen in some areas of 
the base, particularly along the mess hall walls where the 
personnel were shot down. The GM should determine how 
likely it is that clues will be found, allowing for the PCs skills 
and actions. 

The sentry robot, a Manner 44 chassis with self-activation, 
anti-bio, weapons targeting, machine-gun, and force field 
systems, has been positioned near the airstrip, with instruc- 
tions to fire at landing vehicles and "defend against" any peo- 
ple that arrive at the camp. Its memory banks have been 
falsified to include a record of "the rhinosaurs' attack" and 
superficial damage was done to its interior circuits to make it 
seem as though ils current hostile behavior is the result of a 
malfunction. Such tampering may be detected after careful 
examination In Ihe appropriate technicians 

An aerial survey of the area may reveal a crushed palch of 
vegetation near the camp Isee maps) that has not been over- 
grown recently. It is the size of a small slarship hull. 



VII. The Monopole Mine 



The monopole mine is nestled into the base of a cliff a little 
over 600 km north-by -northwest of Outbase Gamma. In addi- 
tion to the mineshaft itself, the pirales have constructed a 
small hydroponics plant nearby. The plant and Ihe entrance to 
the mine are both well camouflaged against aerial observation, 
blending in well with ihe surrounding vegetation. However, 
Ihe concentration of monopoles is so groat as to make the sile 
detectable from orbit with the proper instruments. 

Ore storage areas, refining equipment . and living quarters 
for the prisoners mining the monopoles and their guards are 
all underground, near the entrance to the shaft. Only three 
pirates are usually stationed at the mine, though more will 
often come down in the Kite when the Condor is in orbit 
around Gardenia. Though the pirates are expecting no 
intruders at the mine, an armed rover is parked nearby in 
case a quick getaway seems necessary- A neuro-scanner set lo 
humans is hooked up to an alarm bell at the entrance to the 
shaft, lo provide advanced warning of visitors. Vasu Aman 
contacts Ihe pirates at the mine daily to relay orders from 
Karag Madiac, lo pass on any important information about 
goings on at Oceanus, and to check up on the progress of the 
monopoles' extraction. 

The mineshaft burrows into the rock of the cliffside for a 
distance of 750 meters, following a thin streak of monopoles 
buried in a vein of Indeslone. The. shaft slopes (low rmard al a 
15 degree angle, but is fairly straight and has no branches. 

The section of the shaft near the surface is broken up by 
two airtight doors, one at the mouth of the shaft, the other 20 
meters further in. A large (300 cubic meter) cavern has been 
hollowed from the rock between the two doors; the three 
pirate guards live in this space, and this is where extracted 
ore is purified and the final producl stored. 

The refining of the mined ore is done bv a Brumaj^eii II 
rohot with miner and chem systems. The purification done bv 
the robot is very imperfect, however. The ratio of waste rock 
to monopoles even in comparatively rich ore is very high; 
quality extraction requires equipment not included in the 
robot's systems. 

Forty-thousand kilograms of semi-refined ore have been 
mined to date, and the mine produces 400 kilograms of new 
ore every 24 hours. As the ore is produced, it is packed in 
1000 kilogram crates (each Vio cubic meter large), and stacked 
at one side of the cavern near the mouth of the shaft. 

The actual mining of ore is done by the seven prisoners 



taken in ihe raid on Outbase Gamma. Equipped with digger/ 
scoopers, they quarry the ore and carry it to the miner-robot, 
under the supervision of the pirates. Living facilities (crude 
but adequatel for lite prisoners are provided in a small hollow 
behind the second airtight door. 

The shaft has no air filtration system. A refrigeration unit 
keeps temperatures bearable, while the robot synthesizes 
oxygen when needed lo freshen the atmosphere. 

A small hydroponic garden is located just outside the shaft. 
A five-meter radius prefab dome (with airlock) contains plant- 
ing tubs, chemicals, and atmosphere and temperature control 
equipment. Foods of a variety of types are grown, including 
vegetables, high-yield grain hybrids, and an unappetizing but 
healthy yeast-base protein substitute. The garden was built 
near the mine as an emergency food source in case the Con- 
dor was ever prevented from making a supply run. Karag 
Machar wanted to be sure that he wouldn't be forced to come 
to Gardenia when it was potentially dangerous just to keep his 
men from starving. The pirates augment the produce of the 
garden with the meat of a common Gardenian herd animal. 

The seven prisoners from the raid on Outbase Gamma who 
survived are now slaves in the monopole mine. Though the 
captives do not work willingly, there is little alternative. On 
two occasions they tried refusing lo mine, and each time one 
of them was taken out and tortured until all consented to 
continue to dig. 

The prisoners consist of two of the outpost's geologists, two 
maintenance men, the driver, cook, and biologist. The statistics 
for each ma\ be developed In the G.\l as desired: if rescued, 
the\ will eerlaiulv be well-disposed Inward the saviors and 
will do all they can to have them rewarded. There is a 20% 
chance that a particular prisoner will want to leave the planet 
once rescued. 

The prisoners are provided with enough food and water for 
their needs, though thev are allowed only six hours' sleep out 
of every twenty-four hour working "day." The rest of the time 
they are hard at work, deepening the shaft. 

The pirate guards do not go out of their way to make life 
unpleasant for the captives, but they are intolerant of any 
misbehavior, and are willing to be very cruel if they feel it is 
needed. The pirates are careful lo avoid friendly relationships 
with their prisoners which might put them off their guard: 
they interact with the captives only when necessary for the 
operation of the mine. 



VIII. The Raiders of Helm 

The origin of the raiders of Kelm goes back twenty years 
before the events of this scenario, to a brief war fought 
between the Federation of Planets and the colonists of a world 
in the Eta Cassiopeiae system. The colony wanted indepen- 
dence from federal regulation of trade and objected to the 
presence of a federal military force in their system. Tensions 
built, culminating in the expulsion of federal officials in the 
system. The Federation could not allow this to occur, and 
determined to reassert its influence, by force. 

One of the Federation vessels senl to the colony was the 
Sword-class Condor, carrying a platoon of spacetroopers com- 
manded by Karag Machar. Karag was and is a talented leader, 
inventive, cunning, and possessed of an innate magnetism that 
inspired loyalty among bis platoon. He even attracted the 
admiration of the crew of the Condor. The commander of that 
vessel was a petty, vain fellow, upset by the control this 
trooper had over the crew. 

Tempers flared between the two leaders, and the Condor's 



commander became increasingly cruel to his own men. Finally 
words turned to blows, and Karag led a mutiny aboardship 
with his own troopers. Knowing that the penalties for mutiny 
were imprisonment or death, the platoon commander and bis 
men, joined by many from the ship's crew, decided to flee. 

One crew member who did not join Karag's revolt was the 
ship's psionic navigator, who valued her position in the Navy 
too eioeh to become a refugee. After failing to psinnieallv 
contact the leader of ihe federal expedition against the colony 
and psionic acquaintances on other ships nearby, she con- 
tacted Yasu Aman, whom she had heard to be the master of a 
psionic institute on the colony below. Yasu, unbeknownst to 
the navigator, had just been expelled from the institute (see 
Section 81. 

Instead of seeing to the punishment of the mutineers, Yasu 
decided to join them; making contact with Karag, he made his 
intentions known. Though suspicious of Yasu's offer, Karag 
needed a navigator. The Kite was sent down to the surface 
with those few troopers and crewmen who had not joined the 
mutiny; on the return voyage it carried Yasu Aman. 

Once safely away from the Eta Cassiopeiae system, Karag 
searched about for a base for the Condor. Many systems were 
investigated over the years until a suitable one, Chara, was 
finally discovered. 

For nearly twelve years the pirates have operated out of 
their base on Kelm, gathering materials to improve their base 
and accumulating wealth that they sell on the black market in 
other systems. Their raids were concentrated away from 
Chara at first, to avoid putting their base in jeopardy. How- 
ever, with the settlement of the world, the pirates have begun 
hilling Chara s shipping as well (though not at a great rate). 
Most of their strikes have been around the Xi Bootis system 
(-16,-14,*7). 

Initially, the pirates avoided unnecessary bloodshed and 
focused their attentions on gaining valuable cargoes. With 
time's passage, however, they have become more callous and 
have acquired neu arid less disciplined men. ! he cn-\\ is 
responsible for a number of senseless atrocities now, and is 
wanted by most major planetary and Federation law-enforce- 
ment and military organizations. 

Oespite bis barbarity, Karag is still an excellent leader of 
men, and has led them well over the years. He avoids unneces- 
sary risks with his crews and materials. Karag's statistics are 
as follows: ST 9; EN 8; DX 8; AY 10; IN 9; MP 2; LD 12; EM 7; 
AG 11; SS Poor colonist family. Skills: Urban 1; Grav NW 6; 
LT 3; HY 1; EX 0; Temp HT; Environ FL/IC 3; Body Armor 4; 
Paint Gun 5; Arc Gun 2; Artillery 2; Ambush 2; Battlefield 4; 
Unarmed Combat 3: Space Tactics 6; Disguise 4; Forgery/ 
Counterfeiting 4; EVA 2; Spaceship Tech 2; Survival 3. 

The Condor is a Sword-class ship with two Energy pods, a 
heavy weapons pod, an augmented jump pod, and a lander 
pod with an attached Piccolo-class craft, the Kite, which has a 
light weapons pod of its own. Both ships are fully crewed. 

The main pirate base at Kelm (located in environ sOI) is fully 
equipped and basically independent so long as occasional 
spare parts and raw materials are brought in by raids. The 
base has its own source of energy in a nearby radioactives 
mine, and thus access to almost unlimited fuel for itself and 
for the spacecraft. Full docking and repair facilities for the 
Condor and Kite as well as for two Terwillicker-X battlecraft 
are available at the base. A powerful force screen (treat as a 
class 2 spaceship force field) covers the pirate settlement 
against missile bombardment, should it he discovered. The 
base is also capable of defending itself w ith its own missile and 



38 



burster systems. Treat the base's system as a fully slocked 
arsenal pod capable of two burster fires and two battle com- 
mands each friendly fire phase (using the DELTAVEE game 
rules). About twenty men manage the base when the Condor 
is away. 

The pirates also have a minor installation concealed in a 
crater on Vertiprox, Gardenia's moon. The installation is sim- 
ply a fuel depot, with a stockpile of 500 energy units as an 
emergency supply for the Condor. No men are stationed there. 



IX. Random Encounters 



The GM should roll for random encounters regularly, as per 
the UNIVERSE game Case 27.1. Gardenia's Danger Level is 2, 
while the danger levels for Magrito and Kelm are only 0. If the 
Encounter Table indicates an NPC encounter while the party is 
traveling the wilds, the GM should make a second roll; if the 
second roll is 15% or less an exploration party or some other 
group of NPCs has indeed been encountered. On a 16% or 
higher, treat the roll as "No Effect. 1 ' If the Encounter Table 
indicates a creature encounter, the GM may use one of the 
creatures described in this chapter, a standard creature from 
the UNIVERSE game's Adventure Guide, or a creature of his 
own devising. 

Creatures 

RHINOSAUR: 1-Hex 

Restrictions: Light vegetation, woods, or forest on Gardenia. 
Combat: 12-14, AY: 6-8, AG: 11-12, IN: na 
Initiative: 20% 
Composition: Protein 

Powers: Camouflage, Heightened Hearing and Smelling and 
Chitinous Carapace 

•Warning: A large, lumbering hulk is pushing its way 
through the undergrowth towards you. 
•Sight: Big, 6-legged lizard, 5 meters long; has a *fe meter- 
long sharp horn growing from its snout. Creature has no 
visible eyes. 

'Perception: Creature is carnivorous and very pugnacious. 
It is building up speed to charge. 

•Examination: The creature has vt;rv sensitive powers of 
smell and hearing; liny eyes may be found as well, of poor 
quality in vision. 

FENWICK BATS: Small 

Restrictions: Within 10 km of caves on Gardenia. 
Combat: 6-9, AY: 10-12, AG: 3-6, IN: na 
Initiative: 4% 
Composition: Protein 

Powers: Flight, Dart Shooting, Poison Attack. Radar Sense. 
•Warning: You hear a flapping of wings close by. 
•Sight: 5-10 one-meter long two-headed lizards. Sharp teeth, 
pointed tail, and quills radiating from its trunk. 
•Perception: Entity is hunting insects. Will ignore party 
unless attacked. 

•Examination: The quills and tail are coated in a toxic nerve 
agent. The creature has an internal echolocation organ allow- 
ing it to judge distances to nearby objects. 

HEAT PLASMS: Small 

Restrictions: Anywhere on Magrito or Kelm 

Combat: na, AY: 5-8, AG: 7-10, IN: na 

Initiative: 15% 

Composition: Non -carbon 

Powers: Energy Absorption 

* Warning: Dozens of amorphous white blobs are 



coming towards you. 

"Sight: They are each 1/2 meter in diameter. They move by 
rolling; no limbs or orifices are visible. 

•Perception: The creatures crave the party's body heat and 
the energy produced by their equipment. The entities will 
attempt to surround any source of heat. They cannot be 
scared away. 

•Note: The pirates have only recently discovered these crea- 
tures land vice versa). The heat plasms have slain two pirates 
so far, and few of the raiders dare travel overland on foot 
now, preferring to use tracked vehicles. 
CARPETEER: Large 

Restrictions: Jungle or forest on Gardenia 
Combat: 3-5, AY: 1-2, AG: 5-7, IN: na 
Initiative: 15% 
Composition: Carbon 

Powers: Heightened Hearing and Smell, Acidic Secretions, 
Camouflage 

"Warning: A large, red, leafy mat is draped over a nearby 
tree limb. 

•Perception: The entity drops on unsuspecting passerhvs 
beneath it and digests them with acidic secretions. 
•Examination: The creature has some features of a plant, 
and some of an animal. It has leaves and engages in photosyn- 
thesis, but is also mobile and consumes animal protein. 

TUNNELERS: Miniscule 
Restrictions: Flat or hilly terrain on Gardenia 
Combat: 1, AY: 1-4, AG: 3-6, IN: na 
Initiative: 1% 
Composition: Carbon 
Powers: Swarm mind, Tunneling 
•Warning: A ditch blocks your path. 

•Sight: The ditch is 2 meters wide. Four-legged insects with 
thin, round torsos swarm at the ditch's bottom. 
•Perception: The insects are carrying bits of vegetable mat- 
ter. They will ignore the party unless something enters the 
ditch, in which case they will swarm around it and attack with 
their mandibles. The ground in the vicinity of the ditch is 
permeated with tunnels dug by the insects. Any heavy or 
poorly distributed weight has a chance (weight in kg/10)% of 
falling through into a nest. 



X. Further Adventures at Chara 



The GM may feel free to develop further adventures in the 
Chara system as the UNIVERSE game campaign progresses. 
Often it will be discovered that keeping an adventuring group 
within one system can make for detailed and cohesive sce- 
narios with an overall background in mind. Only the GM's 
imagination is necessary. 

1. Some of the possible adventures thai mav appear could 
include the following ones: 

2. Capture and exploration of the pirate base on Kelm, with 
meetings with the heat plasms that live there. 

3. Exploration of the moons of Aegaron, and the discovery of 
an alien artifact in a cave system on one of the larger moons. 

4. Cross-country journeys on Gardenia, in search of new 
animal specimens. 

5. Asteroid prospecting in the two belts. 

6. Identification and capture of "hidden" pirate operatives at 
Oceanus; some of them may attempt to shoot their way to 
freedom or hold the base hostage by seizing the power plant.. 



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AHIJ> 



THE ZAMRA: 

Weapon of the Yazirians 

A STAR FRONTIERS" Game Variant 



The zamra has been used by Ihe Yazir- 
ians for many centuries; it is a metallic 
disc about 10 centimeters in diameter, 
willi sharp edges, used as a hurled 
weapon. Yazirians wear a gauntlet of 
light metal mesh when using this device 
so they will not be cut by it . 

The zamra was used in the early his- 
tory of the Yazirians as a dueling 
weapon. The two Yazirians in the duel 
would climb separate poles about 20 
meters in height with a distance of 
about 5 meters between them. At a 
given signal the Yazirians would leap 
from the poles and glide downwards: 
each would have one zamra to throw at 
the other. If the duel was not between 
enemies, the Yazirians would try to hit 
each other's wing-like membranes, caus- 
ing opponents to fall faster. The duelists 
would try to critically wound or kill 
each other if they were enemies. 

The winner of the duel had to fill 
several conditions. He had In he alive 
when he landed, ihe last one to touch 
down, and had to land within a two- 
meter diameter circle which was clearly 
marked on the ground. One contestant 
had to meet all these requirements or 
the duel was considered a draw. 

Sometimes duels were carried out 
using zamra s made of a softer material. 
These were generally non-lethal, but 
sometimes contestants were badly 
injured or slain with them anyway. Over 
the years the Yazirians started using the 
zamra not only in duels but also in any 
sort of fighting. Even now in the age of 
space travel, most Yazirians know how 
to use this weapon. 

The statistics for using zamras in STAR 
FRONTIERS gaming follow: 
Weapon type: zamra 
Damage: ldlO (ld6 if non-lethal variety) 
Ammo: 1 (itself) 
Rate of fire: 1/turn 
Defense: Inertia 
Point-blank range: 0-5 meters 
Short range: 6-10 meters 
Medium range: 1 1-20 meters 
Long range: 21-30 meters 
Extreme range: 31-40 meters 



by William Tracy 

A Yazirian will carry at most two types 
of zamras. One type is produced in a 
variety of colors (except red) and can be 
used anytime the character wishes. The 
other type is dark red, and can only be 
used against that Yazirian's life-enemy. 
Often the red zamra will be carried as a 
sign of honor it ihe Yazirian chouses ;i 
life-enemy that is not a living being, such 
as a disease or a competitive company. 
Typically only one red zamra is ever 
owned by a Yazirian; to own more is 
considered disgraceful. A character may 
own as many other kinds of zamras as 

When a Yazirian character is created, 
a six-sided die is rolled to determine the 
initiiil skill level the character has when 
throwing a zamra. A roll of 1-3 means a 
skill level of 1; a 4-5 roll means a skill 
level of 2, and a roll of 6 indicates a skill 
level of 3. This skill level may be 
improved over time. A character's base 
chance to hit targets when using a 
y.auira equals one-half the characters 
dexterity expressed as a percentage, 
plus 10% per skill level with the zamra, 
plus range, movement, careful aiming, 
cover, target size, and thrower's condi- 
tion modifiers. Use an additional -15% 
penalty if cast by a gliding Yazirian (such 
as during a duel). 

Other character races may use the 
zamra, though Yazirians tend to frown 
upon such practices. The zamra has a 
significant place in Yazirian folklore and 
culture, and Yazirians like to see it 
treated with proper respect (which they 
don't feel can be given the device by 
other races). Although they usually 
wont attack someone seen using a 
zamra, Yazirians wont necessarily be 
happy to see this situation, either, 

Yazirian battle gauntlets and i 
are made of a strong, light alloy; 
weigh about .5 kilograms. Game charac- 
ters can never "modernize" zamras by 
adding devices to make them some sort 
of energized weapon. 

Note: The zamra will always be used 
beion; any other weapon carried by a 
Yazirian if a life-enemy is being fought. 



When a Ya/inian is using a ziiiiir.i against 
his life-enemy, he gains a *10% bonus to 
the chance that he will go into a battle 
rage, which will last as long as he is 
fighting his life-enemy. A red zamra will 
be used against life-enemies if possible, 
though other sorts will do. 

ZAMRA TRICKS 

If cast at a gliding Yazirian, a roll "to hit" 
that is less than or equal to Vioih the 
thrower's normal "to hit" score may (at 
the caster's option) disable one of the 
target Yazirian s wing-like membranes, 
forcing him to cut his gliding distance in 
half and land quickly. 

If two Yazirians are throw ing /aniras 
at each other, each has a chance to catch 
the zamra thrown at him with the bat- 
tle-gloved hand. The chance is equal to 
one-half the character's dexterity plus 
3% per zamra skill level. If the gloved 
character is hit by a zamra yet makes 
his catch percentage, he will take no 
damage. 

Any character with a zamra skill level 
of four or better has a chance to try 
rebound shots. For example, the charac 
ter may be pinned down by gunfire in a 
corridor, with the assailant firing from 
around a corner. The zamra thrower 
may attempt to make the zamra bounce 
off a wall or other surface and strike the 
assailant. There must be a hard surface 
for a rebound shot to be attempted, and 
a zamra can only bounce off one surface 
to make an effective attack. The follow- 
ing procedure must be used: 

1. Basic chance to hit: Vs dexterity 
(round fractions up). 

2. Bonus: '5% per zamra skill level. 

3. Add or subtract range modifiers, 
adding .1 meters of effective distance ler 
the rebound itself. 

4. Use the reft of the modifiers listed on 
p. 22 of the STAR FRONTIERS Expanded 
Rulebook. 

5. Subtract 1-4 points from the zamra 's 
damage if it hits the target, as the 
rebound absorbs part of the zamras 
kinetic energy. A 



FIRE AT W1LU 

■ ■■«■ " 



.,„rlhe .witches. With 



KNIGHT HAWKS ga 



by Carl Smith 



INTRODUCTION 

These rules convert the board move- 
ment and comhat systems given in the 
KNIGHT HAWKS'" game so they may be 
used with TSR, Inc.'s KNIGHT HAWKS 
game miniatures to fight battles in outer 
space, lb use these conversion rules, a 
player needs to be familiar with the 
KNIGHT HAWKS game. 

Combat results and other game varia- 
bles are decided by rolling one or more 
10-sided dice, to get results from 1- 10, 
1-100, 2-20, etc. Combat results are 
shown in the KNIGHT HAWKS game, 
under the Advanced Game Combat 
Table. 

All miniature figures represent one 
vessel of a particular class. The only 
exception to this rule is y grouping ol 
five fighters, molded as a "flight.'' 

TIME SCALE 

One game turn equals (en minutes of 
game time Inot real time). During this 
turn, both players move and conduct all 
their attacks. Everything occurring in 
this turn is considered simultaneous. 

PI a vers roll a die for initiative before 
movement each turn. The player win- 
ning the roll has the option of being the 
first or last one lo move and fire offen- 
sive weapons. 

Atofe; Seeker missiles for either side 
are alwavs moved last in a turn, after 
both sides have already moved. 

DISTANCE SCALE CONVERSIONS 
(HEXES-INCHES! 

One hex from the KNIGHT HAWKS 
game maps represents an area 10,000 
km across; using miniatures, two inches 
will equal 10,000 km (so one inch equals 
5,000 km in the gamescale). A turn from 
one hex -side to another in the KNIGHT 
HAWKS game becomes a 60 degree turn 
in the miniatures version. 

MOVEMENT 

Each ship retains its specific acceleration 
and deceleration factor (ADF) as out- 
lined in the rules. All ADFs are mea- 
sured in increments of two inches 
(10,000 km). 

1'lavcrs mav never willingly "ram" one 
starship into another. Tb do so would 
totally destroy both vessels. Players 
must move so as to avoid collision when- 
ever possible. 

Any evasive movement is noted on the 
ship log, and that vessel is moved at one- 
half normal speed. 

Tbrning; A protractor may be used to 
determine turning angles. For every two 
inches of forward movement, a player 




may make one facing change of 60 
degrees or less. This may be done in 
accordance with MR rate, i.e., a player 
with 2 MR may make no more than two 
60-degree changes in his turn. Players 
do not have to turn during their move if 
they do not want lo. All ships must 
move 2 " forward prior to executing any 

Exception: Any player not moving may 
face his vessel in any direction he 
chooses, regardless of MR rate. 

RANGE 

In the KNIGHT HAWKS game, all ranges 
are measured in hexes (each hex being 
10,000 km). When using these rules for 
miniatures, one inch equals 5,000 km. A 
weapon with a range of ten hexes thus 
fires twenty inches. Simply double the 
range in hexes to find a weapon's range 
in inches. 

iVoie: Mark a white dot on the front 
(center) of each miniature's stand. All 
measurement from one vessel to 
another should use the white mark as a 
reference. This dot also serves as a point 
of reference for all forward-firing IFF) 



When measuring, round up all frac- 
tions of an inch if the distance is half an 
inch or greater. Round down if the dis- 
tance is less than half. This is used for 
determining all movement distances and 
ranges. 

Optional rule: All ranges may be esti- 
mated prior to being measured. If a 
target is out of range, you have wasted 



your shot. All fire must be "laid-in" (i.e., 
allocated) before combat begins. 

AREA (ZONES OF CONTROLI 

No ship may move within one-half inch 
of another ship. No ship may fire 
through another vessel. All ships must 
have a direct line of sight between their 
guns and their intended target. 
Destroyers will often "screen" larger 
ships, intercepting fire intended for the 
capital ship, by blocking the line of sight 
between it and other ships. Ships 
arranged with only one-half inch 
between them "screen" ships behind 
them from enemy fire. 

Exception: Fighters may maneuver 
between larger ships, enter and exit an 
assault carrier, and fly in formation in 
any area of one-half inch. Individual 
fighters conduct their attacks as part of 
a formation. Generally a group of 
fighters will attempt lo intercept 
another group of fighters or an unes- 
corted vessel. 

FIRING 

Ships with forward -firing weapons (FFI 
may fire those FFs only within a 60 
degree arc, 30 degrees to either side of 
their bow (froni). Turret -mounted weap- 
ons may fire in a 360 degree arc, all 
around the ship. 

Vessels firing in a straight line from 
their front with FF weapons stand a 
slightly better chance to hit; use the 
HEAD-ON charts for this. Any ship firing 
at a target within 5 degrees of its center 



44 




Ships unable to 

maneuver may 

crash into other 

ships, destroying 

both. This may 

occur because of 

damage to 

navigation, but 

never on 

purpose. 



line receives the bonus for a 'head -on" 
shot. Use the white dot on the stand to 
measure these shots. 

Defensive fire: During its defensive 
phase of a turn, a ship may fire at any 
target which is in its unimpeded field of 
fire. A ship which is screened may not 
be fired upon. Only laser cannons, ICMs, 
laser batteries, and rocket batteries may 
be fired defensively. 



All ICMs must be fired at designated 
incoming attacks. ICMs cannot be allo- 
cated to all incoming attacks, but spe- 
cific ones, i.e., an ICM cannot be used 
against both fire from a rocket battery 
and a torpedo. It must be used onlv 
against one or the other. If a player 
wishes protection from both, he must 
fire at least two ICMs. 

Seeker missile fire: Use paper counters 
to represent Seeker missiles. These 
missiles have a duration of six turns, and 
a maximum 24" speed. Because of their 
size and guidance systems, seekers may 
change direction up to 180 degrees 
before moving. Any ship coming within 
2 " of a seeker will activate it. Seeker 
missiles always move last in a turn, after 
all other movement has taken place. 

Tbrpedo fire: Torpedoes have a dura- 
tion of one turn, and a range of eight 
inches. Torpedoes must be able to trace 
a path to their target without coining 
closer than one-half inch to any other 
target. If a torpedo comes within one- 
half inch of a target, it hits that target 
instead of its original target . 

DAMAGE 

As noted in the KNIGHT HAWKS™ game, 
ships have several means of protection 

which must be indicated on the ship log 
if used. Examples of ship defenses 
include reflective hulls and masking 

screens, and their effects should be 
taken into consideration before damage 
is assessed. 
All damage takes effect at the end of 



both players' turns. Damage 
according to the hit chart (p. 12) in the 
KNIGHT HAWKS game rules. Any ship 
receiving 92-97% results has navigation 
damage, and must follow the last course 
written down until the damage is 
repaired. This means a vessel repeals 
the entire movement pattern of its pre- 
vious turn, or follows its last course 
direction to the letter over and over. 

You may attempt to repair damage at 
the end of every third turn. The 
KNIGHT HAWKS game rules for damage 
repair apply. 

Ships unable to maneuver may crash 
into other ships, destroying both. This 
may occur because of damage to naviga- 
tion, but never on purpose. 

STARSHIP VESSEL TYPES 

The following is a list of Federation and 
Sathar spaceships, with suggested statis- 
tics for their speed (S), turning IT), hull 
points (HP), and weapons (W). All of 
these miniatures are now available in 
boxed sets from TSR, Inc. 

Federation Ships 

Battleship: S - 2, T ■ 2, HP ■ 120, W - 2 
laser cannons, 4 laser batteries, 8 torpe- 
does, 10 rocket batteries. 

Destroyer: S = 3, T - 2, HP = 50, W - 1 
laser cannon, 1 laser battery, 2 torpe- 
does, 6 rocket batteries. 

Frigate: S ■ 3, T - 3, HP = 40, W - 1 
laser cannon, 1 laser battery, 2 torpe- 
does, 4 rocket batteries. 

Assault Scout: S ■ 5, T - 4, HP ■ IS, 
W - 4 assault rockets, 1 laser battery. 

Freighter, unarmed: S = 1, T - 1, 
HP -75, W -None. 

Freighter, armed: S ■ 1, T ■ 1, HP ■ 75, 
1 FF laser cannon (or 1 laser battery). 

Sathar Ships 

The Sathar have starships that corres- 
pond exactly to those the Federation has 
(use the above statistics). They also pos- 
sess the following extra ship types. 

Heavy Cruiser: S ■ 2, T ■ 1, HP ■ 100, 
W ■ 2 laser cannons, 2 laser batteries, 6 
torpedoes, 10 rocket batteries. 

Light Cruiser: S ■ 3, T - 2, HP = 70, 
W - 2 laser cannons, 2 laser batteries, 
4 torpedoes, 10 rocket batteries. 

Pirate Ships 

Frigate: S - 3, T ■ 3, HP - 40, W ■ 1 
laser cannon, 1 laser battery, 2 torpe- 
does, and 4 rocket batteries. 

Assault Scout (Classes A and B): S ■ 5, 
T - 4, HP = 15, W - 4 assault rockets, and 
1 laser battery. 

SPRING 45 



NEW SCENARIOS 

I. Incident 43-C 

Four UPF unarmed freighters were in 
the company of a UPF frigate and one 
military armed freighter; all were 
approaching the star system Ktsa-Kar 
from Kizk-Kar, their last stop. They 
were in the military jurisdiction of the 
planet Ktsa-Kar when they were 
attacked by a Sathar light cruiser and 
two Sathar frigates. At first they were 
not disturbed, because of "reasonable" 
activity by pirates in the area. The con- 
voy sent information to the local military 
interceptor base, and an assault scout 
hunter -killer team of two assault scouts 
was dispatched. When the assault scouts 
arrived, they were greeted by empty 
space and the destroyed hulks of the 
convoy. 

Set up: Sathar have one light cruiser 
and two frigates. They enter at extreme 
weapon range from the convoy at an 
eight o'clock intercept angle. The UPF 
convoy consists of four unarmed freight- 
ers, one armed freighter, and one frig- 
ate. The two UPF assault scouts enter at 
twelve o'clock intercept angle at the 
heginning of the ninth game turn. All 
ships are fully armed and ready. 

Victory conditions: The Sathar must 
destroy all unarmed freighters for a 
marginal victory, the entire convoy for a 
tactical victory, and all UPF vessels for a 
decisive victory. The UPF receives a 
marginal victory for destroying one 
Sathar ship, a tactical victory for 
destroying two Sathar ships, and a deci- 
sive victory if all Sathar vessels are 
destroyed. 

II. Incident 91-K 

Four UPF assault scouts, a destroyer, 
and a frigate, encountered a pirate 
assault scout (class B, "gull-wing ") near 
Prenglar as it closed with a UPF 
freighter carrying war material. In the 
ensuing combat, the pirate assault scout 
was easily destroyed. The group pro- 
ceeded on ,1 four o'clock inlereeplion 
course with Prenglar, but were jumped 
by a Sathar heavy cruiser on a two 
o'clock intercept course. The Sathar 
cruiser surprised the small escort group, 
destroying two assault scouts and the 
freighter. In the combat, it badly mauled 
the destroyer before it was destroyed 
itself. 

Set up: Option A — The freighter and 
pirate assault scout start together in the 
center of the playing area. The UPF 
force approaches at extreme weapons 
range from the four o'clock area and 



engages the pirate assault scout. One 

turn after the assault scout is destroyed, 
the Sathar heavy cruiser will enter at 
extreme weapons range from the two 
o'clock position and engage the UPF 
fleet. 

Option B — Assume the pirate vessel 
has been destroyed, and arbitrarily 
halve the number of torpedoes and 
rocket batteries each UPF ship has to 
simulate shots fired in their engagement 
with the pirate. The Sathar is fully 
armed. It enters from the two o'clock 
intercept position at extreme weapon 
range and attacks the freighter and 
rescue fleet. 

Victory conditions .The Sathar player 
receives a portion of a victory for every 
vessel he destroys. If the Sathar destroys 
the freighter, he receives a marginal 
victory. If he destroys the freighter and 
either of the capital ships, the Sathar has 
a tactical victory. If the freighter and 
two or more of the UPF vessels are 
destroyed, the Sathar has a decisive 
victory. The UPF receives a tactical vic- 
tory for keeping the freighter from 
being destroyed, and a decisive victory if 
he keeps the freighter from being 
destroyed and destroys the Sathar ship. 

III. Incident 217-K 

A pirate base was discovered off the 
farthest planet of Zebulon. A punitive 
expedition under Admiral Kraal, consist- 
ing of the UPF Constellation (a battle- 
ship!, the Port Yzair (a destroyer), the 
Klikk-T'llicck la frigate staffed mainly by 
Vrusk), two assault scouts, and the mili- 
tary armed freighter, Rub'n Jamz, was 
sent to neutralize the pirate force. Act- 
ing as a decoy, the Rub'n Jamz fled from 
the pirates who sent their entire strike 
force, a frigate and two assaull senilis 
(one a class B "gull-wing," and the other, 
a class A "arrow wing") after the 
freighter. Waiting on the sunward side 
of the planet was the entire UPF assault 
force. 

In the following battle, the entire 
pirate force was destroyed, with only 
the loss of one assault scout to the UPF 
fleet of Admiral Kraal. This region of 
space remained pacified until three 
years later when the yacht , Cafyidine 
Breeze, was waylaid by an old pirate 
assault scout which was obviously just 
passing through the area. 

Set up: The Rub'n Jamz starts in the 
middle of the playing area. All pirate 
vessels start at maximum weapon range 
on a six o'clock intercept angle. On the 
second turn, the UPF force enters. The 
assault scouts start from the ten o'clock 



position at maximum weapon range 
from the freighter, and all other UPF 
vessels start at an eight o'clock intercep- 
tion angle from the UPF freighter at 
maximum weapon range. 

Victory conditions: For every vessel 
the pirate destroys, he receives victory 
points equal to the number of hull 
points of the vessel. A marginal victory 
is 70 hull points destroyed; a tactical 
victory is 175 hull points; a decisive 
victory is any score over 225 hull points. 
If the UPF player destroys one pirate 
vessel he receives a marginal victory; 
two pirate ships, a tactical victory; and 
three pirate ships, a decisive victory. 

IV. Incident 21 7-L 

After Admiral Kraal's victory over the 
pirates near Zebulon, he was alerted to 
a sub -space SOS and took his fleet to 
pick up survivors. In reality, the Sathar 
had picked up his communications and 
had hastilv sent a fleet consisting of one 
Sathar heavy cruiser, one Sathar light 
cruiser, and one Sathar frigate to the 
area designated by the SOS. When the 
UPF fleet arrived, they found the Sathar 
fleet heading toward them on a twelve 
o'clock intercept course. 

In the ensuing battle, the UPF assault 
scouts, the freighter and the frigate 
were destroyed. The destroyer was 
damaged badly and repairs on her were 
so extensive that she was not recommis- 
sioned until the hostilities of the second 
Sathar war were over. Even Admiral 
Kraal's flagship, the Constellation, was 
badly damaged and out of action for the 
better part of a year. The UPF did man- 
age to destroy all the Sathar vessels 
involved in the action, but at a terrible 
cost. 

Set up: The Sathar and UPF fleets 
enter on a collision course at maximum 
weapon range. The Sathar are fully 
armed, and the members of the UPF 
have only the armaments remaining to 
them after their destruction of the 
pirate fleet (see Incident 217-K, scenario 
III). When the UPF fleet enters, the 
freighter is screened from the Sathar by 
the battleship Constellation. 

Victory conditions: The Sathar receive 
a marginal victory if they destroy two 
UPF ships. They receive a tactical vic- 
tory if they destroy three UPF ships, and 
a decisive one if they destroy four UPF 
vessels. The UPF receives a marginal 
victory if they destroy one Sathar vessel. 
If they destroy two Sathar vessels, they 
receive a tactical victory, and a decisive 
victory if they destroy all three Sathar 
vessels. A 



by Marvant Duhon 



Through most of the 24th century, long range explo 
ships were not as numerous as they once had been; nearly all 
were found at or beyond the periphery of known space. 
Other spaceships only traveled between bases or kept close to 
a single base; the bases provided facilities for the crew, sup- 
plies, and replacement pods as needed. When a ship ventured 
out without a friendly base as its destination, on a military 
operation or pirate foray, its next move was always an imme- 
diate return to base. In the five scenarios provided with the 
DELTAVEE game, surviving ships are usually dangerously low 
on energy and missiles and badly battered. Between battles a 
ship might repair damaged equipment and recharge its 
energy, hut it could not replace missiles or repair destroyed 
equipment. 

With the gathering of warclouds, a need exists for warships 
capable of sustained operations, that can fight a series of bat- 
tles separated hy jumps with no intervening return to base. 
Ships designed for this "main fleet" use require a jump pod, 
preferably an augmented one, and all but the small Daggers 
should carry an energy pod and a crew pod as well. Other 
pods usually fall within a narrow range for each class of ships, 
with ihe main choice being whether to outfit larger ships as 
generalists (with a balanced load of different pod types) or 
specialists (with some ships bristling with arsenal pods, others 
outfitted as battlecraft carriers, and so on). 

For main fleet work, a Dagger's two pods are nearly always 
an energy pod and a hunter. If energy is available from sup- 
port ships, an energy pod and a heavy weapons pod can be 
used; for independent scouting, the ship can carry two hunter 
pods. Three of the five pods of a Sword in a battle fleet should 
be a jump pod, a crew pod, and an energy pod. The other two 
could be an arsenal or heavy weapons pod and a battle com- 
munications pod. Some Swords could carry two blaster pods 
to provide flak defense for larger ships. 

Spear (8 pod), Pike (12 pod), and Halberd (15 pod) class ships 
should carry a basic load of one energy pod, one crew pod, 
and one battle communications pod. lb this can be added a 
couple of arsenal pods, one or two battlecraft pods, and per- 
haps a tractor beam pod. This alone would fill a Spear. Larger 
ships could have one or more blaster pods and duplicate 
energy, jump, and battle communications pods. Two level 8 
tractor becm pods operating upon the same ship would work 
wonders, but this is a costly capability- When two or four puds 
of the same type are carried, they should be paired (e.g., pod 1 
being the same as pod 9), so that both will be affected by the 
same die roll on the Hit table. This gives less choice to the 
enemy player scoring a hit. A fleet flagship will usually carry a 
command pud. 

Tcrwillltker-X Modification! 

As larger military spaceships became more common, ihe 
Iitu 'Hlicker-X battlecraft became less and less effective. 
Against a Spear or a heavily -armed Sword, the laser-armed 
fighters were merely annoying gnats. Both the X model and 
the earlier model 5000 had been designed for scouting and 
skirmishing, not fleet actions. However, it was easy to add 
pylons that could carry unguided or intelligent missiles. Model 
XI carried one missile beneath the hull, the X-3 had two (one 
on each wing), and the X-3 carried one in each of those three 
positions. The People's Socialist Alliance worlds enmlnved 
several versions, the X-1G, X-2G, and X-3G. These had the laser 
removed and guided missile control equipment installed, per- 



mitting a guided missile to be carried. Most other fleets consid- 
ered this a poor trade-off, but the PSA used these models in 
droves. 

Each missile carried reduces (he maneuver rating by one 
until it is fired. No Prepare Missile Command is required. Any 
number of missiles carried may be fired at once, all with the 
same direction and velocity. A battlecraft may not fire its 
burster in the Phase in which it fires a missile. The X-1G, X-2G, 
and X-3G may provide guidance to only one missile per Com- 
mand Phase, in lieu of launching a missile in the previous Fire 
Phase. 

Based on these developments and others, the Tcrwillicker-Y 
was built. It carries three missiles, but they are better installed 
so that there is no maneuverability loss. The burster is 
retained, and guidance can be provided to any number of its 
missiles per Command Phase, regardless of its actions in the 
previous Fire Phase. Its pod possesses 1 Batlle Command, 
which can only be used for Commands involving a fighter. 

Fighters are only missile armed on their first sortie. No 
reloads are carried in the pods, although projects are directed 
toward correcting that. 

Additional Spaceship Types 

The Terwillicker 3000 is an older battlecraft which still serves 
in many smaller navies. The Y model, a significant improve- 
ment over the X, is found in major battlefleets. Harmonics has 
its own entry into the battlecraft field, the Fugue. The Fugue 
is maneuverab'..: enough to fly rings around the opposition, 
especially at high speeds, but it is lightly armed and armored. 

The old Blades Battleax is still the big bruiser in some areas. 
As is the case with all level 6 ships, a battle communications 
pod will only improve its Targeting Program to -3. The Mace 
was a good design for its day, quite well-armored for such a 
little ship. Although a single pod seems small for a warship, 
the Mace is found on dozens of worlds. It is used not so much 
as a part of a navy, but for planetary defense. The Poniard 
was the standard military two-pod until the vastly superior 
Dagger came along; it is now relegated to a few backwater- 
areas. The Sai originally served as a leader for a squadron of 
Poniards. Although it is far from "top of the line," it is retained 
by many navies. 

The Saber was the model from which the Sword developed. 
The Pike and Halberd are new classes, built for main battle 
fleets. A Burster Class of 3 means that the hull burster may 
fiic laser hursts or barrages or particle bursts; a Class 4 
means (hat it may use laser or particle bursts or barrages. 

The old Harmonics Oboe is an small exploration ship once 
sent out in large numbers across the universe. The Saxophone 
is the current extended exploration model, designed for exten- 
sive discovery and investigation missions. It is seldom seen in 
civilised spare. 

The Corco Beta is an older model cargo ship, slightly mod- 
ernized and armored for use in asteroid bell... It is mainly 

With the gathering of 
warclouds, a need 
exists for warships 



used for in-system work these days. The Theta was big and 
clumsy, and is now generally unused The Epsilon is a new 



design. Many have been sold to honest adventurers, but Corco 
developed the Epsilon with the needs of privateers foremost. 
Federation starfleets have had great difficulty with an owner- 
modified Epsilon with a maneuver rating of 9 and a target 
program of -6. Unconfirmed reports say the ship and pilot are 



so good that it can weave into an asteroid or plane! hex. Not 
nearly so popular is the Corco Nu, famous for its large cargo 
capacity and for a larger appetite for energy. Few have been 
sold, and those only in settled areas, as they make too easy 
and attractive a target. 



Table I: 

Attributes of New Spaceship Types 

Spaceship Type 


/ / // // 
/ / / P $ / 


/ / A 

5 i / *T 

4? V 4° & 


/ 

/ 


Terwillicker Spaceworks, Inc. 


lerwillicker .10(10 (Battlecraft) 


2 


(1 


12 


1 


yes 


1 


6 


-1 


Terwillicker V (Battlecraft) 


4 


9 


18 


* 


Yes 


2 2 


8 


-4 


Bladen Research Institute 


Mace 


1 2 


8 


24 


2 


Ves 


2 2 






BattleaA 


6 1 


4 


120 


12 


No 


2 2 






Poniard 


2 2 


5 


36 


4 


Yes 


2 t 


1 7 


■2 


Sai 


3 2 


5 


60 


5 


Yes 


2 2 


1 7 




Saber 


5 2 


7 


72 


6 


No 


2 2 


1 7 


-2 


Pike 


12 1 


4 


144 


16 


Vo 


3 2 


Z 8 


-4 


Halberd 


15 1 


4 


180 


IS 


No 


4 2 


2 8 


-4 


Harmonics, Inc. 


Oboe 


3 2 


6 


60 


5 


Yes 


| i 


6 




Saxophone 


10 2 


5 


144 


11 


No 


1 1 


1 8 


-4 


Fugue (Battlecraft) 


2 


12 


15 


1 


Yes 


1 1 


O 


-4 


Corco Croup 


















Beta 


3 1 


3 


48 


6 


Yes 


1 t 




Theta 


8 1 


Z 


120 


12 


No 









Nu 


IS 1 


s 


102 


24 


No 


1 


7 




Epsilon 


3 3 


a 


HO 


6 


Yes 


2 2 


2 8 


-4 





















New Pod Types 



Several weapons pods are provided, plus several support 
pods. The support pods have little or no effect during battles, 
but rather are for use between battles, allowing campaign 
games. It is assumed that ships have on board equipment for 
repairing damaged equipment and armor, but that destruction 
is permanent. Note: When there is no battle underway, each 
spaceship has one additional Rattle Command available 
because the crew can devote itself to other matters. 

The new spaceship pods available are: 

Blaster pod — A damaged blaster pod has only two fires. A 
destroyed blaster pod does not function. 

Command pod — This is the headquarters and quarters for 
the fleet commander. It may share its Battle Commands with 
any friendly ship or guided missile within its ship's active 
search range. (Active search range does not mean that a ship 
has performed an active search; it is the range the ship could 
search to). If damaged, it has only two Battle Commands. If 
destroyed it does not function. 

Force Field Generator pod — This pod was originally 
designed as a way to retrofit a forcefield generator on large 
merchantmen fearing pirates, and was later adopted by larger 
warships. A level 7 pod produces a class 1 field, a level 8 pod 
produces a class 2 field. The effects of damage and destruction 
are the same as for hull-mounted force field generators. If a 
ship has more than one generator, each must be issued sepa- 
rate activation and deactivation commands. Rule 9.8 only 
applies to hull -mounted generators. There is no additional 
benefit from having more than one force field activated. A 



ship receives protection only from the highest level force field 
activated. 

Electronics Warfare pod — The EW pod jams enemy com- 
munications. At the beginning of the enemy Command Phase, 
it may subtract up to four Battle Commands from those availa- 
ble to enemy ships within active search range of its ship. Some 
of those Battle Command subtractions may be applied to 
enemy missiles within active search range. Unguided missiles 
are unaffected, but other missiles have a maneuver rating one 
lower that turn. A guided missile so affected also requires that 
its owner expend an extra Battle Command to control it for 
each subtraction. 

Intelligent and guided missiles and MI.Y1S rolling for inter- 
ception with a ship with an undamaged F.W pod subtract two 
from the die required for interception (an A becomes an 81. 
Two is added to the firing program of enemy ships when they 
fire at a ship with an undamaged F.W pod. A damaged EW pod 
may subtract two battle commands from enemy ships or mis- 
siles, but does not otherwise function. A destroyed EW pod 
does not function. 

Missile Reload pod — A missile reload pod is a specially con- 
structed cargo pod with interior buffering for its dangerous 
load. Normally it is designed lo provide missiles to other ships, 
requiring a supply transfer pod. It may provide unprepared 
missiles to a pod on its ship on the issuing of a Provide Supply 
Battle Command, providing any number of missiles until the 
pod is full. A damaged pod does not function. When a missile 
reload pod with missiles remaining is destroyed, roll the die. 
On a "1" the ship is destroyed by a secondary explosion 
Destroyed missile reload pods do not function and all missiles 



are lost. Types of missiles carried vary with civilization level. 



tabu: II: 


Number of Missiles in Reload Pods 


Level 


Llnguided 
Missile 


Guided 
Missile 


Intelligent 
Missile 


Ml MS 



6 


10 


20 





7 


25 


20 


in 


5 


8 


20 


15 


IS 


10 



Table III 

Level 


Supply Transfer Pod Data 
Missiles/Port Energy/Porl 




5 

6 { 

7 e 

8 E 


nough to fill 1 pod 
nough to fill 2 pods 
nough to fill a ship 


12 units 
enough to fill a ship 


2 
3 
4 



Level S pods Itjnlv] tii. iv service fighters, hut if I lit 1 pod is 
damaged, destroved, or made vulnerable, any fighters docked 
for such servicing are destroyed. 

Major Repair pod — This pod is used to jettison destroyed 
equipment, or to move such equipment on its own ship or one 
docked with it between docked ships. A ship may only receive 
equipment if it has an appropriate empty space Iwith no 



equipment, not destroyed equipment there). Except for pods, 
equipment may only be transferred between ships of the same 
class. Equipment may only he used after it is installed. Equip- 
ment from enemy ships requires one additional turn to trans- 
fer or install. By issuing more than one Major Repair Battle 
Command, repairs may be accomplished more quickly. 



Supply 'ihmsfer pod — A supply transfer pod allows trans- 
fer of energy and missiles between docked ships. It may be 
either on the provider ship or the recipient ship. The recipient 
ship must have Ihe capacity to accept what is transferred; 
partly empty basic energy capacity and undamaged energy 
pods for energy, vacancies in undamaged weapons pods or 
undamaged missile reload pods for missiles. The providing 
ship must have sufficient energy or missiles to transfer, and 
nothing can be taken from a damaged pod. Provided missiles 
are not prepared. 

A supply transfer pod has a number of ports, each capable 
of providing missiles or energy Ibut not both from one port on 
the same turn). Number of ports and rate of transfer per port 
varies with civilization levels. On a single "Provide Supply" 
Battle Command, which may be issued by a recipient or pro- 
vider ship, one ship may supply one other ship (using as many 
ports as desired). Additional "Provide Supply" commands allow 
olher ships to be served, although each port may only be used 
once per turn. A damaged supply transfer pod functions at 
one level lower than its original level; a destroyed pod does 
not function. 



Table IV: Major 


Repair Pod Data 






Equipment 




.leriisi.ii 


Turns/ 
Transfer 


Install 


Pods* 




, 


i 


I 


Engine 
Bridge 
Force Field 
Generator 




3 
2 

1 


3 


S 
2 

2 


" — Olher (hail Major Repair 


Pod itself. 







The Medium Weapon pod was called the heavy weapon 
pod before heavier pods came along. If damaged, all mis- 
siles are lost and it retains only the capability to fire laser 
or particle bursts. If destroyed, it does not function and all 

missiles are lost. 



Homing missiles act like guided missiles which have 
received no Control Missile Commands, until a friendly 
Command Phase when they are six or fewer hexes from an 
enemy unit which was issued Maneuver Commands in its 
previous command phase. Each time this occurs, the hom- 
ing missile homes on that enemy unit. The phasing player 
issues the homing Missile Maneuver Commands as if it 
were ,i Guided Missile bring provided guidance, subject to 
the requirement that the homing missile end the phase 
pointing as directly as possible at its target. This will not 
always be the besl intercept trajectory. 

If more than one enemy'unit within six hexes has been 
issued Maneuver Commands, the target selected will be the 
one with the highest Relative Energy Score. The Relative 
Energy Score is the amount of energy expended on maneu- 
ver commands (which may be zero) minus the range. If 
there is a tie for the highest Relative Energy Score, the 
Phasing Player selects the target from those with the high- 
est score. Homing missiles are unaffected by electronics 
warfare pods. 

Homing missiles may be substituted for intelligent or 
guided missiles in a scenario. Whether homing missiles 
require preparation before firing is determined by whether 
Ihe missile it replaces would have. 



Table V: New Pod Types Atti 


ibute Chart 


ff / / / / 


/ 

/ p 
/ / J 

4 $ 4 




/ / / 


Blaster 




Ves 

















7 -4 


No 


No 


5 2 


Command 




Mr. 














4 


8 — 


No 


Ves 


2 


Force Field Generator 




Mr. 

















7-8 — 


No 


Ves 


1-2 


Electronics Warfare 




Mo 

















S — 


No 


Ves 


1-2 






Mr. 














(1 


6-8 — 


No 


Ves 


0-2 


Missile Reload 




Mr. 


See special 


llllJS 






6-8 — 


No 


Ves 


2 


Major Repair 




Mr, 














M 


6 — 


No 


Ves 


0-2 


Medium Weapon 




Ves 


8 


6 








1 


6 -1 


No 


No 


1 1-2 






TABLE VI: 

Civilization 

Level 


Homing Missile Attributes 

Velucity Maneuver 
K citing Rating 


Energy 
Units 


6 

7 
8 




1 
2 

Z 


5 
6 

7 


S 
9 

10 



Planetary Installations 

These rules are intended for minor outposts on unsettled 
planets or moons , or defensive remnants on civilized planets 
whose main defenses have been destroyed. The planetary 
atmosphere is assumed to be light or not present. 

1. The rule that missiles entering a planetary hex are immedi- 
ately destroyed is modified. The missile is destroyed at the end 
of the movement phase in which it enters the planets hex. 

2. Installations can only fire and be fired at through a single 
hexside, hven a small asteroid can stop heavy fire, 

3. An installation is laid out just like a spaceship. It lacks a hull 
force field and burster, lis bridge and engine do not perform 
Maneuver Commands but help determine when an installation 
is completely destroyed (rule 1 1.0). Velocity is ahvavs 0, direc- 
tion is as initialized (the installation may be partially protected 
by terrain), 

4. The installation is assumed to be relatively camouflaged. 
The direction of the installation is not directly revealed to the 
enemy player. The installation's owner announces relative 
velocity figures for combats, so the direction it faces is soon 
obvious. The pod arrangement is not revealed, although the 
other player knows the number of pods and the effects (mis- 
siles, battlecraft j lasers, particle fire, tractor beams, jamming, 
or active force field) coming from each pod, 

5. When the phasing player chooses a pod to inflict a hit 
upon, he does so without seeing the Log, choosing the pod by 
its number. Hits on a pod are known, and it is known when a 
pod is destroyed j but damage and vulnerability are not 
revealed. 

6. If an Active Search (7.4) or Detection (3.0) of the installation 
is conducted, roll three times on the Hit table. Any pod "hit" is 
revealed. Its type and damage or vulnerability status arc 
revealed, but not missiles or energy remaining. 

Scenario one; The Flight of Sambu 

After a long career, Sambu the Pirate, known to his friends 
and associates as Sambu the Magnificent, had gone too far His 
very successful raid on the Spaceship Kesupply Depot on 
Gameer had provided him with the best assortment of pods 
ever possessed by a pirate, but now the Federation fleet was 
bearing down on him with a vengeance. If he didn't hyper- 
jump fast, his fat was fried. Sambu had already equipped his 
fleet with his choice of pods when three Spears arrived. 

Map Deployment; ABGD(E) 



<m 



PLAYER 1 DEPLOYMENT; One Corco Iota (Spaceship Counter 
A) with Sambu aboard, one Corco Mu (Spaceship Counter B), 
three Corco Gammas (Spaceship Counters D, E, and F), All 
pods are Armor Class 2. Sambu may choose any pods for his 
ships within the following restrictions; No command or elec- 



SKMING 51 



Ironies warfare pods are permitted, only one battlecraft pod 
(Terwillicker-X) is available due to a shortage of pilots, and 
each ship must have a jump capability. Set up first speed and 
direction 3, on any hex of Map A. No force fields may be acti- 
vated, but battlecraft and one missile per weapon pod may be 
prepared. 

PLAYER 2 DEPLOYMENT Set up second, direction 9 and 
speed 3, on any hex of Map B. One Spear (one crew pod, one 
energy pod, one battle communications pod, one augmented 
jump pod, one tractor beam pod, two battlecraft pods (with 
Terwillicker-X) and one arsenal pod (Spaceship Counter A)). 
TWo Spears (Counters B and C), each with one crew pod, one 
energy pod, two battle communications pods, one augmented 
jump pod, one battlecraft pod (with Terwillicker-X) and two 
arsenal pods. No force fields may be up but battlecraft and 
one missile per pod may be prepared. All pods are Armor 
Class 2. 

VICTORY CONDITIONS: Sambu wins by hyperjumping from 
any map to the 3 o'clock of Map D or a map above or below 
such a map. No other jumping is permitted. Player 2 wins by 
preventing this. Player 2's victory is especially sweet if he can 
board the ship with Sambu on it (capturing him), especially if 
no pirate ships hyperjump. If the bridge of Sambu 's ship is 
destroyed, Sambu is killed. 

SPECIAL RULES: A person or persons (Sambu in this case) 
may freely and secretly move between docked friendly ships. 
This holds for docked ships in other scenarios. Any ship of 
Player 1 which is beyond active search range of the ship hold- 
ing Sambu, is on a map where jumping is permitted, and has a 
jump capability will "turn rabbit." That means that he must 
issue a jump command as soon as possible, if necessary issuing 
first a Prepare Jump command. Exception: He need not drop 
his force field if it means an enemy missile will hit him 
unshielded. This reflects the fact that Sambu was ready to 
sacrifice everyone else, and they knew it and were looking out 
for themselves. 

PLAYER NOTES: Sambu chose to outfit the Gammas each 
with a hunter, a battle communications, and an arsenal pod. 
He demonstrated his famous ingenuity by previously docking 
the Mu (with 2 augmented jump pods, 2 energy pods, 1 battle 
communications pod, 2 arsenal pods, 2 force field pods, 2 
burster pods, and 1 supply transfer pod) to his lota (with 2 
augmented jump pods, 1 energy pod, 1 battle communications 
pod, 1 battlecraft pod, 2 force field pods, and 2 burster pods), 
and trying to blast straight through. 

Scenario two: The Battle of Yamani 

Space is generally very, very empty, with light years between 
stars, but this area was emptier than most. The only bodies of 
any consequence were a rogue planetoid, Dragor, and its 
moon Yamani. On Yamani the People's Socialist Alliance had set 
up a small base facility that was very useful to their lines of 
communications in their war against the Federation of Planets. 
It was here that the long-awaited first clash of main battle 
fleets occurred. 

Map Deployment: A B 
CD 

The planet Dragor is in hex D0101. Yamani is in hex B1313, 
moving with direction 6 and velocity 1. It maintains that veloc- 
ity and a distance of 12 hexes from Dragor, changing direc- 
tions at hexesD1307(t0 8),D0113(to 10),C0507<to 12), A0513 
(to 2), B0107 (to 4), and B1313 (to 6). It maintains a constant 



facing relative to Dragor, so any installation on it maintains its 
alignment relative to Dragor. A base on the side of Yamani 
farthest from Dragor is always on the side farthest from Dra- 
gor, regardless of Yamani's direction. No star is nearby and 
these are rather small pieces of rock, so jumping is permitted 
at any point over 24 hexes from Dragor. 

PLAYER 1 (FP) DEPLOYMENT One Halberd command ship 
with 1 command pod, 2 battle communications pods, 1 elec- 
tronics warfare pod, 3 energy pods, 2 augmented jump pods, 
2 level 8 tractor beam pods, 1 arsenal pod, 1 battlecraft pod 
(with Harmonics Fugue), 1 blaster pod, and 1 crew pod; 

Two Pike carriers, each with 1 battle communications pod, 2 
energy pods, 1 augmented jump pod, 1 level 8 tractor pod, 6 
battlecraft pods (with Terwillicker-Y), and 1 crew pod. On 
their first sortie, the Y's carry 2 homing missiles and 1 intelli- 
gent missile; 

Two Spear battlewagons, each with 2 battle communications 
pods, 1 energy pod, 1 level 8 force field pod, 1 augmented 
jump pod, 2 arsenal pods, and 1 crew pod; 

Four Sword flak cruisers, each with 1 energy pod, 1 jump 
pod, 2 Blaster pods, and 1 crew pod). All pods are Armor 
Class 2. 

Set up in the bottom 3 rows of Map C, with at least one hex 
between each ship. Direction must be between and 2 for 
each ship. Velocity must be the same for all ships, and be 
between 1 and 3. Missiles and battlecraft may be prepared (1 
per appropriate pod). 

PLAYER 2 (PSA) DEPLOYMENT One 15-pod communications 
base on Yamani with 1 command pod, 1 long range communi- 
cations pod, 1 battle communications pod, 3 energy pods, 1 
level 7 tractor pod, 1 blaster pod, 1 crew pod, 1 level 7 supply 
transfer pod, 2 level 7 force field pods, 1 equipment pod, 1 
major repair pod, and 1 level 7 missile reload pod. One 12 -pod 
fighter base on Yamani with 2 battle communications pods, 2 
energy pods, 5 battlecraft pods with Terwillicker X-1G, 1 crew 
pod, and 2 equipment pods. As long as there is an undamaged 
equipment pod, each figtrter may reload 1 guided missile each 
time it refuels. One Pike with 1 battle communications pod, 1 
energy pod, 1 augmented jump pod, 1 hunter pod, 1 tractor 
pod, 2 arsenal pods, 3 battlecraft pods (with Terwillicker X- 
3G), 1 blaster pod, and 1 crew pod. On its first sortie, each 
fighter is armed with 3 guided missiles; 

TWo Spears, each with 1 battle communications pod, 1 
energy pod, 1 standard jump pod, 1 heavy weapons pod, 2 
battle craft pods (with Terwillicker X3G), 1 blaster pod, and 1 

Four Swords, each with 1 battle communications pod, 1 
standard jump pod, 2 heavy weapons pods, and 1 crew pod; 

One Sai guardship with 2 medium weapons pods and 1 
heavy weapons pod. The Sai is in orbit around Yamani. It must 
remain in orbit until enemy ships are within 12 hexes. Until 
then it is invulnerable to unguided and guided missiles. All 
other PSA ships are between 2 and 6 hexes from Yamani, in 
adjacent hexes. They must all have a common velocity 
between and 3 and a common direction between 6 and 9. 



VICTORY CONDITIONS: The PSA Player wins if his com- 
munications base is undestroyed. If it is destroyed, the player 
with the highest number of undestroyed pods at the end of 
the battle wins. The pods of a boarded enemy ship count 
toward the total of the side that captured it, not the previous 
owner. The end of the battle is determined by mutual consent, 
and the battle is automatically over when only one player has 
units on Maps A, B, C, and D. A 



Sword and Sorcery 

IN 




by Jay Hartlove 



One of the great attractions of role play- 
ing is it allows us to live in worlds more 
interesting than our own. Each different 
genre of games transports us into a 
world that differs from the here and 
now in unique ways. Players prefer 
certain game worlds because of their 
particular differences. The SUPERGAME 
system was written with the world of 
comic book superheroes in mind. 

Comic book characters can do most 
anything you can imagine, so we had lo 
write the game as a set of um\ eisalK 
applicable rules with emphasis on cate- 
gories of abilities rather than specifics, 
so players could fully develop the char- 
acters they want to play. But this means 
any kind of character can be generated 
and played, including (hose from other 
gaming genres. 

One nf the attractions of "sword and 
sorcery" role-playing games is the vari- 
ety of monsters you can encounter. Such 



fantasy monsters are easy to create in 
the SUPERGAME system, where you 
build things giving ihem the exact abili- 
ties you want. 

Another attraction is the thrill of find- 
ing special things, like magic weapons. 
In the SUPERGAME system, all begin- 
ning characters are put on equal footing 
with one another by limiting their over- 
all effectiveness. There are no freebies 
or discounts in the character construc- 
tion system; you buy everything the 
character can do with a set number of 
points. The notion of such a character 
using some weapon or device that he/ 
she has found is inconsistent with the 
game's intent, since that would increase 
the character's total effectiveness if the 
character is allowed to keep the found 
object indefinitely. Our solution is an 
object breakage system. 

The effectiveness of an object is mea- 
sured by what it does, not by the partic- 



983 by Jay and Aimpp Hartlove 



ulars of how it works. Objects that do a 
certain thing are bought with the same 
number of SUPERGAME character con- 
struction points as super powers that do 
the same thing. Objects bought with a 
character's own points never break. If 
they are damaged, the objects are 
always allowed to be fixed before the 
next adventure. Tf lost, then recovery or 
replacement of the object becomes para- 
mount (o the character. 

Found objects that aren't created from 
a character's own points are not indes- 
tructahle. The longevity of such items is 
figured differently from one item to the 

Hand weapons are commonly found 
objects in fantasy role-playing games. In 
the SUPERGAME system, the amount of 
damage done when striking with a hand 
weapon is a rolled percentage of the 
sum of the weapon's damaging power 
plus the wielding character's strength- 



; .i:s 



derived damaging power. Martial arts 
training adds to this percentage. The 
chance of breaking an ordinary weapon 
is the total amount of damage done in a 
strike expressed as a percentage. F.ach 
level of martial arts the wielder has 
decreases this chance of 10%. Well-made 
weapons have ,1 1(1% to 2(1% breakage 
resistance; that percentage is subtracted 
from the breakage chance rolled each 
time a strike is made. 

lb illustrate, we'll take a very strong 
character (Strength of 50) with hand-to- 
hand training (level one!, using a well- 
made 115% breakage i-esislancel, 
one-handed battle axe. The character's 
Strength gives him/her a damage base of 
25 (50 - 50/100). To this we add the 
weapon's damage potential of 15. Once a 
hit has been made, we roll percentile 
dice to see how much damage it did; let's 
say we get a 70. lb this we add 10% 
from the martial arts training. 80% of 40 
is 32 points of damage. Without further 
modification this means a 32% chance of 
breaking the axe with that strike. Sub- 
tracting 10% lor the wielder's martial 
arts skills and the axe's 15% breakage 
resistance leaves a total breakage chance 
of 7%. 

Especially well-made weapons might 
have up to 50% resistance, while 
divinely -created or enchanted weapons 
would have up to 80% breakage resist- 
ance. As with all found objects, the abili- 
ties (Dexterity adds, damage done, 
breakage resistance, super powers) of 
hand weapons are entirely up to the 
game master's discretion. The 
SUPERGAME rulebook gives typical 
damage and Dexterity adds for the vari- 
ous types of hand weapons to use as 
guidelines. 

Aimed weapons are even easier to 
figure. If they are not reloadable, then 
they simply stop working when they 
run out of ammo or power. Reloadable 
weapons do the same but characters 
then can try to find or make more 
ammunition. Invention capabilih and 
typical weapon loads for conventional 
weapons are both detailed in the game 
rules. 

Objects that do things other than dam- 
age will rarely break during norma! use. 
If the found object is powered, then 
referees can always have it run down 
after a set number of uses. Details on 
refueling or- re-energizing devices, like 
deciding ammunition for projectile 
weapons, are left to the game master. 

An easy way to fit permanently ener- 
gized objects into game balance is to 
make them unusable by a single charac- 

54 Mas 



ter. If two or more characters are 
required to operate something then no 
one character has his/her effectiveness 
increased by a significant amount. 

A character's personal armor and 
defenses will usually protect a charac- 
ter's carried possessions as well. This 
does not apply to found objects, how- 
ever (unless the character has an armor 
bubble or the object in question is very 
small), it's a good idea when designing a 
to-be-found object to give it a Physical 
score and (if appropriate) armor. The 
Physical score is the amount of damage 
an object takes before it is inoperable. 
For some objects, this score isn't very 
great. 

You can't have a sword -and -sorcery 
world without abundant magic. In the 
SUPERGAME system, magic is a means 
of delivering a construction poinl pur- 
chased effect to a target. Characters that 
use* magic do so as a constant part of 
their total effectiveness. To infuse more 
magic into your game world, you can 
have characters find magical scrolls or 
tablets. When a character reads one of 
these, the words burn themselves into 
the character's memory and the scroll or 
tablet disintegrates. 

To cast spells, the character recites the 
magic words aloud (which is a physical 
action). The feedback of hearing the 
spell spoken causes brain nerves to fire 
(a mental action) which purges the mem- 
ory of the spell completely from his/her 
mind, much like electrushoek therapy 
hul without the convulsions. The power 
of the spell (the pip plusses against the 
die roll which determines the chance of 
successful delivery) and the spell effects 
are, again, up lo the referee when the 



spell is designed. 

Comic book supei -heroes end up in 
whatever fantastic situation the game 
master can cook up for them. Super- 
heroes are oflen sent into the past, the 
future, outer space, and other dimen- 
sions. But you don't have to transport 
superheroes to a sword -anti -sorcery 
world if you would rather use charac- 
ters who live there alreadv The adapta- 
tions listed here allow SUPERGAME 
rules to be used for a complete sword- 
and-sorcery campaign. 

The advantages of using the 
SUPERGAME system are that it allows 
unlimited character description, it 
doesn't require the use of restricting 
character classes, and it totally balances 
the effectiveness of one character to 
another. You may wish to start begin- 
ning characters with less than the 250 
character construction points suggested 
in the rulebook for superheroes. Since 
fantasy characters usually start their 
careers as "normal" people, 175 or 200 
points should be plenty for anv kind of 
character players might want to play. 

Another particularly good use for 
these rules is in campaigns using time/ 
space travel. In these campaigns, vastly 
different technologies anil fighting tech- 
niques {'lash. This adventuring set-up is 
especially well handled in the 
SUPERGAME system. 

Over the next year, DAG Design will 
be producing supplements based in 
other genres for superhero adventuring. 
They will include outer space adven- 
tures, inter-dimensional menaces, and of 
course, a sword -and -sorcery world. But 
that doesn't mean your campaign can't 
start branching out right away! A 





AUTODUEL CHAMPIONS™ 

Game Booklet 

Design: Aaron Allston. Steve Jackson 
Games, 1983. $10 (booklet). 

The AUTODUEL CHAMPIONS game 
booklet is a landmark achievement in 
game design. For the first time, two 
companies, Steve Jackson Games and 
Hero Games, have joined forces to pro- 
duce a supplement that combines the 
best features from their top sellers, CAR 
WARS™ and CHAMPIONS 1 * game sys- 
tems , respectively. 

The supplement was written by a 
former employee of Jackson Games, but 
overseeing the work on the CHAMPIONS 
game section of the supplement was 
George MacDonald from He to Games. 
The sweat put into this by both compan- 
ies really shows in the final product as 
the rules are clear and succinct. 

The booklet is divided into four sec- 
tions, one of which is a handv index. 
The first section is about CHAMPIONS 
Autodueling, and includes extensive 
information on character skills, vehicle 
construction, movement, and combat. It 
ends with a nice scenario that makes 
excellent use of the rules given up lo 
this point. 

In the second section, helicopter con- 
struction, movement, and combat is 
explained in CAR WARS game terms. 
The rules are straightforward enough 
that it makes one wonder why the 
TRUCK STOP™ and SUNDAY DRIVERS™ 
game supplements were so long. . . . The 
only serious "fault" that I can find is that 
CHAMPIONS game characteristics are 
omitted (either intentionally or by acci- 
dent), so this section is only for those 
who play the CAR WARS games or who 
don't mind doing the conversion work 
themselves. 

The third section deals with CAR 
WARS game superheroics* If there is any 
fault with the AUTODUEL CHAMPIONS 
game booklet as a whole, it is in the CAR 
WARS game section. Although character 
creation is covered, complete with skills 
as found in CAR WARS gaming and some 
of the skills from the CHAMPIONS game, 
it leaves one feeling empty, as if they 
haven't given you the full story, The 
superpowers, which are the fulcrum to 
superheroics, only number twenty -three 
total. Normal skills are given, but only 
twenty -three? This section also describes 



combat resolution and 'knockbaek" (the 
process by which things are scattered 
about when punched by a superhero or 
slammed into by a vehicle). However, it 
only hints at items like "special effects" 
and 'disadvantages "; puzzling terms if 
vou a rent familiar with CHAMPIONS 
gaming. The section concludes with a 
scenario that uses the helicopter and 
superhero rules in CAR WARS games. 
The AUTODUEL CHAMPIONS game 



section separatelv That way those inter- 
ested in the autodueling rules could get 
them for a reduced rale without having 
to buy the superhero rules, I would give 
it a 6 (on a scale of l=poor to ltMruly 
inspired) because it was a good first 
effort at collaboration. Otherwise it 
would rate a 4,5 because of the waste of 
monev to those who would onlv use half 
the book. 
Reviewed by Jerry Epperson 




If there is any 
fault with the 
AUTODUEL 
CHAMPIONS game 
booklet as a 
whole, it is in the 
CAR WARS game 
section- Although 
character creation 
is covered . , , it 
leaves one feeling 
empty . . . 



booklet is a fantastic addition to any- 
one's CHAMPIONS game campaign. 
Those looking for an expansion of the 
car chase/combat rules should look into 
this one. However (and it's a big ''how- 
ever 1 '), those who only own CAR WARS 
games will be greatly disappointed by 
the AUTODUEL CHAMPIONS game 
booklet due to the skimpiness of the 
superhero material. The descriptions 
are a good start and touch all of the 
bases, as far as activities governed by 
the skills and powers given, are covered. 
There just isn't enough "meat" on the 
bones lo make the supplement worth 
the hefty price tag. 

It's obvious that only half of the infor- 
mation in the AUTODUEL CHAMPIONS 
game rules is usable at any one time. 
Perhaps a better marketing plan would 
have been to publish each individual 



CAR WARS ™ Game 
Reference Screen 

Design: Autoduel Quarterly Maga- 
zine staff. Steve Jackson Games, 
1983. $5 

Of all the "blow em away on the free- 
way" boardgames that have saturated 
the market, only the CAR WARS game 
survives with a large and steadfast audi- 
ence. Though the game has its faults, 
the CAR WARS game system remains 
popular with the demands for more new 
material growing daily. It has spawned a 
host of supplements, and even has a 
magazine available to support the grow- 
ing hoards of CAR WARS game fanatics, 
Autoduei Quarterly Magazine. 

Now Steve Jackson Games has 
released a CAR WARS Game Reference 
Screen that has "all the charts, tables, 



SPRING 55 



GAMES' 



and diagrams you need for CAR WARS 
game adventures ... on one convenient 
screen." Also included are enlarged cop- 
ies of the various record sheets previ- 
ously published in other CAR WARS 
game supplements. 

The screen itself consists of three, 
8V2 * ■ 11 " heavy cardstock panels 
printed on both sides. I assumed that 
one side is meant for gamemasters and 
the other for players. Assumptions, 
however, can get you into trouble. 

The charts and tables are arranged on 
the panels in no order. Listings which 
the GM might find handy are found on 
the player side and vice versa. The 
screen could have been great for refer- 
eeing, but as it is, "reference" is all that 
it can be used for. About as much use 
could have been had by printing all of 
the charts on flimsy paper and selling 
them for 50 cents. 

On the player side of the screen 
(remember this is only an assumption 
based upon previously published GM 
screens), one can find: an index to all 
CAR WARS game materials, a weapon 
data table, accessories list, and repair 
chart. On the final panel is the catchy 
full-color illustration that can be found 



on the original CAR WARS game (suit- 
able for framing, but little else). 
On the GM side is: an advanced colli- 
n system, confetti (a new "littering 




interstate" rule), "to hit" modifiers, 
weapon damage location list, control 
table, and a hazards and manuevers 
charts. The new collision system was 
published in Autoduel Quarterly «2 (at 
$2.50) and the confetti rule is worthless, 
so don't run out and spend your money 



(he for these two minor additions. 

Useful information which could have 
been included consists of: character 
creation, skills, vehicle construction, 
terrain effects (passing mention is made 
in the hazards table, but nothing useful), 
and even the insignificant vehicle board- 
ing table for semi-trucks. These charts 
could have replaced the full-color cover 
(which could have been printed on 
paper, backed with advertising or some- 
thing of the sort) and the advanced 
collision rules (much more useful 00 
paper that can be folded and inserted in 
the game box than on a large screen). 

What more can you say about a 
screen? It either does the job or it 
doesn't. On the Epperson Scale, the CAR 
WARS Game Reference Screen rates a 
"4" Ion a scale of l=poor and lOdivine 
inspiration). It gets the mission accom- 
plished, but with a little more foresight 
and expense, it could have been invalu- 
able. Should you hop into your Porsche 
911, buzz down to the ol' hobby shop, 
and pick up a copy? Only if you use 
screens a lot in your gaming sessions. 
Otherwise there are plenty of cheaper 
methods to obtain the same result. 
Reviewed by Jerry Epperson 



Scouts Rulebook 

Design: Marc Miller. Game Designers' 
Workshop, 1983. $6.00 

Scouts is the sixth rulebook in the popu- 
lar TRAVELLER* game series of science- 
fiction role-playing material. The 
distinctions among rulebooks, supple- 
ments and adventures arc important. 
Adventures are just that, scenarios and 
situations to assist the referee in run- 
ning a campaign by providing pre-made 
outlines for play. Supplements are infor- 
mational in nature and highlight a 
world, a type of equipment (such as 
starships, which have frequently been 
the subject of supplements) or provide 
pregenerated lists of worlds, characters, 
or animal encounters. 

Rulebooks, however, are something 
quite different, for they deal with the 
basic procedures of the role -playing 
system. Where supplements and adven- 
tures can often be regarded as optional, 
especially by enterprising referees who 
do a lot of this work on their own, rule- 
books may substantially alter the way 
the game is played. As a consequence, 



the appearance of a new addition to the 
rulebook line is of considerable interest 
to all TRAVELLER gamers. 

Scouts is a rulebook dealing with two 
distinct but interconnected topics. First 
is the Imperial service given over to the 
exploration of the frontier, survey and 
mapping of known space, communica- 
tions via the X-boat system and recon- 
naissance during war: the Imperial 
Interstellar Scout Service. The second is 
a new method for generating the star 
systems with which the Scouts are so 
very often concerned. 

Players and referees may have been 
wondering when the Scout service 
would get the expanded treatment that 
their more vainglorious brethren, the 
Imperial Marines, Army and Navy, 
received in Mercenary and High Guard 
(TRAVELLER game books 4 and 5 
respectively). In 19S0, the now -defunct 
Paranoia Press published Scouts and 
Assassins, an effort to expand the 
options for Scout characters. The book- 
let, however, is no longer available and 
the absence of material for Scouts is 
noticable. Now, GDW has taken on the 



task of dealing with the 1ISS. 

The first twenty pages of Scouts is 
devoted to the IISS and an expanded 
Scout generation system. The material 
details the organization of the IISS; the 
service, we learn, is divided into seven 
offices, dealing with such tasks as 
administration, communications, explo- 
rations, detached duly (an important 
office for player characters, since it will 
be through this branch that they inter- 
act with the service if they are former 
Scouts), operations, technical services, 
and the Imperial Grand Survey, the 
office devoted to the job of preparing 
Ihe subsector maps that are used in 
TRAVELLER game adventures. Much of 
the material is culled straight from a 
feature article on the Scout Service 
appearing in issue «6 of The Journal of 
the Travellers Aid Society. 

The new character generation system 
is set up along the lines established in 
Mercenary and High Guard; a Scout's 
prior service career is created in consid- 
erable detail. The differentiation of 
branches allows for a richer variety of 
skills and requires the additions of Scout 



56 



'GAMES' 



ranks, an aspect of military life Ihat has 
not been included in Scout material until 
this time. The addition of the ranks 
seems important primarily because of 
the inclusion of the bureaucracy as an 
option for Scout service, which also 
reflects in the fact that Scouts can now 
attend administrator school. The skills 
possible for characters in the ITSS have 
undergone considerable expansion. 

A wider range of Book 1 skills are 
available, and skills introduced in later 
books and supplements such as com- 
munications, liaison and reconnaissance 
appear. There arc three new skills, 
apparently presented by (BW for the 
first time: equestrian (the use of animals 
for transport), naval architect (ship 
design), and, especially appropriate for 
the IISS, survey (mapping and charting 

r systems). The new opportunities for 
Scouts will result in more diversity 
among characters and better rounded 
Scouts in general. 

. criticism that has been levied against 
the original TRAVELLER game rules 
concerns bow they dealt with star sys- 
tems. In shorl, they ignored systems and 
concentrated on worlds; each "system" 
is represented by a world, generated 
according to the rules provided. Other 
aspects of the world's solar system were 
left up to the referee to provide. The 
star system generation rules in Scouts 
changes all that in a big way. Nearly 
jverything a player or referee could 
vant to know about a star system is 
provided. 

The star system rules are the main 
show in this volume; although the book 
may be called Scouts, the Scouts are just 
: warm up act to a star-system genera- 
n sequence that encompasses three- 
quarters of the book and totallv replaces 
the world generation rules from Rook 3. 

IWo new generation checklists arc- 
given. The first is probably of greatest 
use to referees who have already cre- 
ated their subsectors and have their 

n world data ready. This continua- 
tion procedure allows the referee to 
extrapolate backwards and generate a 
star system around a created world. The 
second system guides the referee in 
creating a star system from scratch. The 
continuation system works reasonably 
well, which comes as no small relief to 
people who don't want to trash their 
existing subsectors and start again. 



The new opportunities for Scouts will result in 

more diversity among characters and better 

rounded Scouts in general. 



The new system begins with the deter- 
mination of the primary's characleiis 
tics. Stars may be solitary, binary or 
trinary, and the stars themselves are 
rated for type and size. Much attention 
is paid to orbits and the habitahle zones 
for each star type. The presence of 
captured planets, gas giants and plane- 
toid belts is determined. Once these 
basic star system features are known, 
I lie generation of the worlds within the 
system begins. This follows the proce- 
dures laid down in the original rules, 
hut with significant modification depen- 
dent on zone the world's orbit occupies. 
The system now allows for the genera- 
tion of satellites for individual worlds. 

Once the main world is created, addi- 
tional worlds are generated. Special 
rules cover the technological and politi- 
cal status of subordinate worlds; their 
technology level is lower than thai of 
the main world, and the choice of gov- 
ernment types is restricted. Subordi- 
nates worlds may also have spaceports, 
which are different from starports, and 
are often provided for a raison d'etre in 
the form of a mining, farming, military, 
colony or research facility. Should one 
feel it necessary, more data can be gen- 
erated about stars and worlds. For 
example, stellar luminosity, effective 
temperature and bolomcli k: magnitude 
can be determined by spectral class and 
size. Key attributes of worlds, such as 
average temperature, cloudiness, axial 
tilt, even greenhouse effects and albedo 
can be generated as well. Similarly, 
length of day and year can be com- 
puted. All of this can prove useful in 
TRAVELLER game situations, since most 
adventures take place on worlds. Infor- 
mation on temperature, day length and 
so on can be worked into the scenarios. 

The book concludes with a chart that 
can be photocopied and used to store all 
the data generated for a given system, 
and several sample systems are given as 
well. One system is Terra, whose famil- 
iarity assists in understanding how the 
new system generator works. 

Scouts adds much to Scout characters 
and especially to the generation of star 
systems and worlds. These latter rules 



add great detail to star systems, and a 
correspondingly greater cost in time and 
effort to create subsectors. Its value 
then, depends on how anxious the ref- 
eree is to include the new information in 
his campaign. 
Reviewed by Tony Watson 

The KUngons 

Design: John Ford, Guy McLimore, 
Greg Poehlin, and David Tepool. 
FASA Corporation, 1983. $15 boxed 

Many gamers love to play the equalizer 
in role-playing games. They're the ones 
willing to risk themselves to chop some 
other character who has grown too big 
for his britches down to size. In AD&.D® 
gaming, they play the neutral or evil 
characters. In STAR TREK": The Role 
Playing Game, they play Klingons. 

FASA Corporation has reeentlv 
released their newest supplement/ 
sourcebook for the STAR TREK game. It 
covers the Klingon Empire the ivav it 
should have been covered in the TV 
series and films. The Klingons game 
supplement comes boxed with a large 
64-page booklet, two separate adven- 
tures for Klingon characters, character 
bridge station sheets for all Klingon 
vessels, and a set of 126 counters cover- 
ing various Klingon races and warships. 

Of course, the main attraction is the 
Klingon Sourcebook. Written by John M. 
Ford and the threesome that brought 
you the initial STAR TREK game book 
and adventures, it covers Klingon char- 
acter generation, additional skills and 
skill descriptions, Klingon physiology 
and medical treatments, Klingon equip- 
ment, Klingon weapons, starship com- 
bat, and planetside adventuring. 

One of the most interesting and 
informative sections in the booklet cov- 
ers the history, structure, and organiza- 
tion of the Klingon Empire; the authors 
have taken great pains to build on the 
brief descriptions of the Klingon Empire 
that were given in the TV series, and 
expand them to a three-dimensional 
political entity. They have done their job 
superbly. Much of the material came 
from John M. Ford's Star Trek novel, 



. ,%7 



GAMES' 



The Final Reflection, soon to be released 
by Pocket Books. By reading the source- 
book you can find out such things as the 
history of Klinzhai, (he Klingon home- 
world, or learn the details of Klingon 
culture and their beliefs. Learn all about 
Klingon Imperial Policy and why every 
Klingon is constantly playing the 
komerex zha IKlingonese for "The Per- 
petual Game"), the intricate weaving of 
intrigue, political power, social manipu- 
lation, and buck-passing that more often 
than not leads to the selection of a new 
Klingon Emperor. The booklet also cov- 
ers the extents of the Klingon Empire, 
finally showing us just exactly where it 
is located in relation to the United Fed- 
eration of Planets, the Romulan Confed- 
eration, and the Organian Treaty Zone. 

!o add il ion. the sourcebook covers the 
Klingon Imperial Naval and Marine Serv- 
ice, detailing ranks, uniforms, insignia, 
and decorations. The organization of the 
Klingon Imperial Forces is given with 
descriptions of the cloven departments 
of the Klingon military structure (Impe- 
rial Contacts Bra rich, 'Klingon Diplomatic 
Corps, Exploration/Colonization, Medi- 
cal, Communications, Plans/Policies.- 
Finance, Intelligence, Installations/ 
Logistics, Personnel/Administration, 
Sciences, Training, and Engineering). A 
section on Klingon shipboard systems is 
very well done, concerning the many 
differences between Klingon warships 
and I'ederation vessels (agonizer booths. 
inspirational media rooms, surveillance 
facilities, etc.) and clears up the mystery 
of why Klingon warships are required to 
earn their names. 

Finally, the Gamemaster section of the 
booklet gives hints on the playing of a 
Klingon character campaign, with a 
discussion on players and Imperial Pol- 
icy [he infighting within the group of 
player characters to top each other 
(more on this later), and the best way to 
insult a Klingon. 

Of I lie two adventures included in the 
supplement, the longer one, called "The 
Natural Order," is the most interesting. It 
gives actual examples of the day-to-day 
problems and pressures of life as a 
Klingon naval or marine officer. Taking 
place on the agro-colony of Delleren V, 
deep within the Empire, it centers 
around the possible ineptitude lor false 
accusation) of the planet's governor. The 
players must sift through all the evi- 



The Klingons game supplement adds a new 

dimension to the STAR TREK gaming experience. It 

allows you to recreate your favorite Klingons . . . 



dence and discover the truth behind the 
intrigue. If they fail, they must find an 
acceptable scapegoat to save their skins 
from the High Command. 

The other adventure, ''Intrusion," is far 
less complex and covers the breakout of 
some Romulan prisoners on a light 
cruiser, who attempt to destroy the ship 
before they are captured again or killed. 
The adventure uses the Klingon D-7 
deckplans thai may be purchased sepa- 
rately or the smaller reproductions of 
the D-7 provided in the initial boxed set 
for the STAR TREK game. While basi- 
cally a shoot-em-up, this adventure does 
familiarize you with the interior of the 
most common class of Klingon warship 
(and the only one preseollv with pub- 
lished deckplans). The counters pro- 
vided help significantly in any game in 
which deckplans are used. 

The bridge station charts included in 
the supplement are similar to those 
provided with the STAR TREK game, 
except that now the roles are reversed; 
the gamemaster runs any Federation 
ships encountered and the players are 
the bridge crew of a Klingon vessel. 
These charts can be used for any 
Klingon warship included in the recently 
published Klingon Ship Recognition 
Manual or used in conjunction with 
ships designed using I tie Star Trek Ship 
Construction Manual. 

The beauty of this supplement is the 
detailed overview it has given an entire 
stellar empire. Of course, much more 
can be said on one subject or another, 
but this is an excellent beginning and 
gives anyone wishing to start a Klingon 
campaign the source material necessary 
to go out and create their own version 
of the Klingon Empire. 

Which brings me back to the reasons 
for playing Klingon characters. Basically, 
it's fun being nasty without really hurt- 
ing anyone. In a Klingon campaign there 
will be much more competition between 
player characters than in other role- 
playing games, lor- Klingons, backstab- 
bing is a way of life. The only loyalty 
one owes is to oneself and one's particu- 
lar line family (unless betraying that line 
family would get you closer to the 



reward that you seek). Klingons are 
constantly at odds with each other and 
enlightened self interest is the name of 
the game. This causes many an alterca- 
tion between player characters and does 
seem more enjoyable than just being a 
good guy for the Federation. 

Playing a Klingon character is an exer- 
cise in contrasts. It is both more subtle 
(political infighting, buck passing, etc.) 
and less subtle (What's a Klingon's favor- 
ite way to conduct diplomatic negotia- 
tions? Have an orbiting battlecruiser 
lock its disrupters onto your capital city) 
than playing a Federation Star Fleet 
character. It is particularly interesting 
when you are able to manipulate the 
situation to such an extent that you can 
discredit one member of your party 
while gaining all the glory and praise for 
yourself. An interesting uav of doing 
this is to try what the Gamemaster sec- 
tion of the supplement suggests; choose 
a junior officer from among the player 
characters to be an agent for Imperial 
Internal Security. His/her job would be 
to spy on the other characters and 
ensure that they carry out their duty to 
the Empire. 

As can be seen, Klingon campaigns 
will probably lead to the demise of more 
player characters than a Star Fleet game 
would. It is for that reason that the 
supplement suggests having more than 
one character to ensure continued 
enjoyment and participation in the 
game, should one of your personae 
come to grief. 

The Klingons game supplement adds a 
new dimension to the STAR TREK gam- 
ing experience. It allows you to recreate 
your favorite Klingons from the TV 
series to add new nasties to the scene, 
all in a beautifully detailed background 
describing new details of the Klingon 
Empire. This is certainly a must for any 
avid STAR TREK game fan and a wel- 
come addition to FASA's line of STAR 
TREK game products. While you plan 
out yon," Klingon campaign, remember 
I he words of that ageless Klingon mili- 
tant philosopher, Kuirok the Wordy: "If 
it doesn't fit — FORCE IT!" 
Hcviened by Dale L. Kemper 



, :: 



GAMES 1 



SUPER WORLD™: The 
Superpowered Role-play- 
ing Game 

Design: Steve Perrin. Chaosium, Inc., 
1983. $20 boxed 

The cover reads "Defend Justice and 
Smash Evil With Your Superworld 
Heroes." Indeed, that is what it is all 
about. Chaosium, Inc., has taken their 
minirule set for role-playing a comic 
book superhero and developed it into a 
full-Hedged game in which players can 
adventure to save Truth, Justice and the 
American Way (or anything else for that 
matter). 

The game comes with three booklets 
Ithe Superheroes Book, the Superpow- 
ers Book, and the Gamvnwsters Book). 
The rules are based on Chaosium s per- 
centile skills s\stem and use I lie same 
al tribute rolls used In 1 oilier games in 
that system: Strength, Constitution, Size, 
Intelligence, Power (a measure of will 
and lock I, Dexterity anil Appearance. 
Except for one slip, everything is 
described first and explained in use 
second (recharge rate is mentioned 
before it is explained). 

The explanations take us through the 
transformation of Kent l-'raser, staff 
photographer, into Stormbolt, defender 
of peace, truth and justice. While detail- 
ing the development of the character 
Stormbolt, the rules do a solid and clear 
job of explaining how to put together a 
character for a SUPERWORLD™ game. 

By the time a player has read through 
to the glossary on page :)l of the first 
book, the player knows how to play the 
game. A character is put together by- 
rolling characteristics on 2d6*6; once the 
characteristics have been rolled, the 
character's pre-superpowers identity is 
determined. Stereotypes for various 
prulesMons are provided to aid in role- 
playing (e.g., policemen ". . . tend to be 
cynical . . . Their experience in the moan 
streets may have sparked in them a 
certain rough chivalry.") Players may 
choose their own occupations and 
income from the list, have them 
assigned, or roll from tables created hy 
the gamemaster. 

The player then chooses an origin for 
his or her superhero. The sample char- 
acter received his powers from a freak 
lightning bolt. Olhers may choose to be 
aliens, magicians, mutants, or gamma- 



ray victims. A random method like Jeff 
Dees excellent system in the VILLAINS 
AND VIGILANTEES™ game would make 
a good addition to the SUPERWORLD™ 
game system. 

The characters powers and abilities 
are chosen next. This is done by choos- 
ing skills £9 1 id powers and invesling 
"hero points" in them. A character 
determines his hero points by first total- 
ing his requisite points; this results in a 
number between 56 and 168. A set num- 
ber of starting hero points such as is 
used by the CHAMPIONS™ game system 
might be a fairer way to do this. 

The player then picks various weak- 
nesses to add to his character. Each 
weakness adds several hero points, and 
may be minor (the hero is reckless in- 
hales pickles) or major (the hero takes 
■kill points of damage per round from 
light) with a corresponding value in hero 
points given for the weakness. Common 
sense is encouraged by the authors here 
ami the suggestion is a welcome one. 

The powers, advantages, skills, and 
weaknesses (power disadvantages and 
handicaps) are very comprehensive. A 
great deal of feedback was used in keep- 
ing the game balanced and playable (one 
of Hie advantages in having the original 



rules completely rewritten) While ihe 
rules enjoin I lie gamemaster to use his 
own judgement if holes appear in the 
rules, the times Ihat this will be neces- 
sary are going to be few and rare. 

Several powers that caused a great 
deal of trouble in other systems (such as 
Tbleport, which is outlawed in most 
CHAMPIONS games) have "been defined 
so that the problems cannot arise. The 
only missing superpower here is the 
ability to create Force Walls, as used in 
the CHAMPIONS superhero game. 

The game also provides a well thought 
out set of rules and advice to help game- 
masters. The gamemasler is given guid- 
ance on how to handle criminal offenses 
(by superheros as well as bv supervil- 
lains), animals, bystanders, various orga- 
nizations, and the law. There is also 
some good advice on selling up a contin- 
uing campaign so that the players have 
more than jusi an isolated series of 
encounters with supervillains. 

Two scenarios are included with the 
rules. One is extensive and should be 
used over several play sessions. It pro- 
vides a good fee! for how a campaign in 
action should be run and has several 
elements that a beginning gamemaster 
can use over and over again as the 



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campaign begins. 

The second scenario, while being 
complete in itself, also shows the game- 
master how to cross over to other games 
— making the monsters of one game 
into the villains of the next. The game 
chosen for this purpose is the CALL OF 
CTHULHLT" game and the sample mon- 
ster is the Shoggoth. 

Various game aids are also in the box, 
including gamernaster sheets, character 
sheets, cardhoard minia lures, and a set 
of dice (the dice are of excellent quality, 
something 1 am glad to say is becoming 
more common in the industry). 

Tn play, the game moves well. Creating 
characters lakes less than an hour for 
experienced players and about an hour 
and a half for a first -time player who 
has played D&D® games before. Melees 
went faster than RUNEQUEST* game 
melees (the parent game for the system) 
and results were predictable from skill 
and experience. The action rank system 
(which determines who acts when and 
who hits first) was fair and felt realistic. 

Experience and improvement seemed 
a little quick, but then the power level of 
the game is much higher than in fantasy 
(you start with a superhero instead of 
becoming one at eighth level). Also, 
progression slows down as characters 
get better at their skills. 

The inside of the bottom box has the 
RUNEQUEST game runes for chaos and 
change/movement in blue on one corner. 
The game is anything but chaotic, but 
should create change in any gaming 
group that sees it. It is well done, and 
worth the price. 
Review by Steve Marsh 

The ALIEN CONTACT™ 
Game 

Design: Fred Chatham. Phoenix 
Enterprises, 1983. $22 boxed. 

Despite the title, this game is not about 
any contact with aliens by Earthlings. It 
is instead a strategical warfare diplo- 
macy free-for-all among up to six players 
to determine domination of a "sector" of 
100 areas, 54 of which contain stars. 
The stars come in six colors, as do the 
player pieces. For each player, posses- 
sion of a star is worth resource and 
victory points totalling nine. The more 
e points it represents, the fewer 



victory points. Each color star is worth a 
different combination for each color 
plaver. As an added complication, for 
each player the three highest value stars 
for resources are considered to have 
unbreathable atmospheres and so 
require special units to garrison them. 

Each player starts at Tech Level 1 (of a 
possible 3) with one space station, five 
space ships, and five space marine units. 
These forces are placed in an area deter- 
mined at random, and which therefore 
might not contain any star at all, let 
alone one of the same color as the 
player. Each player also gets one "pirate" 
unit which is also randomly placed, 
except that it cannot be in the same area 
as a space station. 

Play proceedes in straightforward 
turns. The phasing plaver first moves 
his pirate, if he wishes, and then must 
attack a ship in the area it occupies, 
even if that means attacking one of his 
own ships. He may then move his space 
ships; after movement is completed, he 
can conduct comhat in any areas in 
which there are other player ships or 
space stations he wishes to attack, fol- 
lowing any ship-to-ship combat in an 
area, he may then unload marines and 
attack any opposing marines thai may 
be present . Combat is resolved in 
rounds: the tech level of the attacking 
unit is cross-indexed with that of the 
defender tn find what number or less 
must he rolled on a ten-sided die to 
eliminate the defender, and the defender 
shoots back in the same manner. 

Every third turn, following a player's 
comhat resolution, a Resource Phase 
occurs. First, the player draws a card 
from the deck of seventy -two provided. 
This may call for some immediate result, 
such as some player losing ships or 
troops to a calamity, or it may be a card 
that can be saved for play later, such as 
giving the owner free marines, space 
ships or space stations. After drawing 
the card, players can conduct diplomacy, 
but only with a player with whom rela- 
tions have been established. This is done 
by each having a diplomatic unit at the 
same slar or space station. Each player 
has only two diplomats, and moving 
them about is slow (they travel by space- 
ships, which move as many areas per 
turn as the tech level of the ship, i.e. 
from l to 3). 



Next, the player collects r 
from stars he controls, and builds new 
units. To control a star, he needs to have 
a garrison of marines there (if the Star 
has an unbreathable atmosphere, the 
marines must he of the "environmen- 
tally protected" type, which cost twice 
as much as the ordinary kind). The 
player must also control the "air space" 
of the star, which means having a space- 
ship or station in the area. The presence 
of another player's ships will negate 
control unless a diplomatic agreement 
other-wise has been reached. Any pirate 
ship present negates control as well. 

To the besl of my knowledge, that is 
what the rules say, or are supposed to 
say. The rules folder is only four pages. 
and of that a tad less than three are 
actually devoted to the rules. There are 
a lot of points that are unclear or just 
plain not covered. As a grognard of 
almost 24 years gaming experience, I am 
accustomed to reading between the lines 
and frequently do so without being 
aware of it. This is fine for me, but for 
the novice it is a nightmare. 

Such points as how long a game is to 
last are never explicitly covered. Pre- 
sumably all games last 40 turns, as that 
is the length of the turn record track. 
Do the players get their first two diplo- 
mats for free, since the building cost 
chart gives only a "replacement" cost for 
them? Another sticky case is the clear 
statement in the movement rules that 
marines are unloaded while the space 
ship carrying them moves, while the 
comhat rules jusl as clearly imply that 
marines cannot unload until after the 
ship carrying them survives combat. But 
combat is not resolved until movement 
is completed. . . . 

The components of the game are ser- 
vicable, and the mounted mapboard is a 
nice thing to have, but the sketchy nat- 
ure of the rules badly degrades the 
value of the package. This one could be 
a lot of fun for multi-player situations, 
but only if someone tightens up the 
rules and all the players agree to the 
fixes. Features such as the diplomat 
counter restrictions on diplomacy show 
the designer used his ingenuity. It is a 
shame he didn't also use diligence and 
provide a set of complete and unambigu- 
ous rules as well. 
Reviewed by Steve List A 



BOOKS' 



By Ken Ramstead 
Web of the Romulans 

M.S. Murdock, Pocket Books, S2.95 
(paperback) 

Science-fiction fans have been especially 
fortunate of late with Pocket Books' 
Timescape series. Brought out every six 
weeks or so, they provide a steady diet 
of well-written, finely -crafted works 
that can satisfy even the most demand- 
ing of palates. Of particular interest to 
this reviewer is Web of the Homulans, 
by MS Murdock. 

Like many other Star Trek stories, 
Web is set in the chronological heart of 
the series. Unlike others, though, it does 
not stand apart from the episodes. Its 
starting point is that amorous computer 
which we first saw in the TV episode 
Tbmorrow is \cstwda\: Repnigranimed 
with a personality by those fun-loving 
Cygnet XIV technicians, "Countess" had 
been the banc of Captain Kirk and an 
irritant to Mr. Spock. Countess's crush, 
though, has now grown to dangerous 
proportions, and Kirk must now desper- 
ately find a way to regain control of the 
Enterprise before the threat of a galactic 
conflict turns into a bloody reality. The 
Federation and the Romulan Empire lie 
poised on the knife-edge war, as hawks 
on both sides try to topple them irrevo- 
cably into the abyss. Only Captain Kirk 
and the crew of the Enterprise can avert 
Armageddon . 

As more than one commentator has 
observed, the success of Star Trek is due 
to the fact that every book, every epi- 
sode, and every movie contributes some- 
thing to the whole. Therein is its 
strength and the secret to its enormous 
popularity. Web is no exception. The 
glimpse we get of the Romulan home 
world and of the novel's main Romulan 
characters is refreshing, to say the least. 
Romulan concepts of honor, loyalty, and 
love readily find an answering chord in 
human hearts, just as the baser emo- 
tions of cruelly and treachery are just as 
easily recognized. This empathic reac- 
tion is one of the book's strengths, as are 
the artful portrayals of protagonists like 
Slalon, Captain Garson, and of course, 
Countess. 

Web makes for good reading. The 
author has skillfully blended just the 
right amounts of humor and drama 



together to create a mixture that will 
hold any Trekkie's attention — at least 
until the next Times cape Trek novel 
appears. 

The Stainless Steel Flat for 
President 

Harry Harrison, Bantam Books, S2.75 
(paperback) 

Hold on to your credits! Slippery Jim 
diCiriz, that Stainless Steel Rat (who has 
saved the galaxy at least twice, but 
who's counting) is back! The whole gal- 
axy isnt at stake this time, though. But a 
tiny part of it does need the kind of 
housecleaning that only the Special 
Corps can provide. And to carry this 
housecleaning out, Inskipp of the Corps 
inevitably had to turn to the diC-riz fam- 
ily — Jim, Angelina, and the twins, 
James and Bolivar. Hat fans know that 
when the clan gels together, the gloves 
will be off for (his one. The back cover 
says it best. Jim's "vowed to restore 
truth, justice, and democracy to the 
world of Paraiso-Aqui, if he has to lie, 
cheat, and steal to do it!" 

Long-time admirers of Harry Harrison 
will he pleasantly surprised with The 
Stainless Sleel Hat for President. Gone 
arc the lapses into morbidity that 
marred earlier novels like M.ike Room! 
Make Room! This is pure, unadulterated 
fun with just the right amount of gratui- 
tous sex and violence thrown in for 
good measure. The Stainless Steel Hat 
for President is the product of a crafts- 
man comfortable and satisfied with his 
work; Harrison has hit his stride with 
his latest effort, and his readers can 
hopefully look forward to more of the 



The Man Who Used 
the Universe 

Alan Dean Foster, Warner Books, 
$2.95 (paperback) 

Alan Dean foster is well known to sci- 
ence fiction aficionados as the author of 
books such as Outland and Alien. His 
latest tome, The Man Who Used the 
Universe, does not fail to break new 
ground iti tlir genre. Who else would 
have as major characters members of a 
race of creatures known as Nuels, 
beings whose gross, slime-covered 
bodies are as repulsive to themselves as 



they are to other senlients? 

The main protagonist, though, is 
human, and The Man Who Used the 
Universe concerns Kees vaan Loo-Mack- 
lin's rise from eighty-third-class illegal to 
a position of unrivaled power and influ- 
ence on the Nine Worlds and beyond: 
How to Succeed in Business with a 
vengeance! For Kees is the eonsutnale 
businessman par excellence who weaves 
plans within schemes within plots to 
achieve the goal that he desires above all 
else. And the reader is carried along 
with him through page after page, 
effortlessly propelled by Foster's prose. 

As cosmology, though it leaves a little 
to be desired. For instance, this 
reviewer seriously questions Foster's 
rationale lor the expansionism: polieies 
of the Nuel. That the Nucl find themsel- 
ves as hideous to behold as others find 
them to be seems illogical and absurd. 
That they might find other races ugly 
would not he, though, for wouldn't Nuel 
conceptions of beaut \ and ugliness lie 
shaped on themselves as the epitome of 
all that is comely and good? Further, one 
must also make allowances for the man 
who used the universe himself, who 
seems to he as soulless as the very com- 
puters he manipulates with such ease 
Foster demands much credulity from his 
readers. But he also delivers much in 
return. 

Warning: The cover art, while vivid 
and eye-catching, bears no relation 
whatsoever to the plot line. 



Gunner Cade 
(plus: Takeoff) 

CM. Kornbluth &. Judith Merril, A 
Ibr Book, S2.95 (paperback) 

Although purists may violently disagree, 
a book's cover art and back-cover blurb 
are all important lo the marketing of 
any soft-cover. The novel itself may 
make for first-rate reading. But if the 
author is relatively unknown, the pro- 
spective buyer will have little else to go 
by but what he holds in his hands. Soft- 
covers, more often than not, have to sell 
through that first impression and must 
do this through compelling artwork and 
an enticing synopsis. 

And it was precisely the back-cover 
description and the front-cover art that 
made me buy Gunner Cade, hy CM. 



(il 



GAME ERRATA 



Gunner Cade was an 

awful disappointment; 

an amateurish effort 

cursed with 

a wooly plot . . . 



Kornhluth and Judith Merril, The con- 
cept of one man pitting himself against 
the might of a Solar Empire seemed too 
good to pass up. 

T wish I had. Gunner Cade was an 
;im till disappointment: ,'iu amateurish 
effort cursed with a wooly plot and 
based on the absurd premise that the 
survivors of a nuclear conflagration 
have cloaked the art of war with arcane 
and elitisl rituals in order to protect 
themselves against death from the sky. 
All this is pretty tame stuff even for a 
book written in 1952, especially when 
one compares it with anything that 
came from the pen of Robert Heinlein 
during the same period. 

In my haste to snatch Gunner Cade off 
the shelf, though, I almost overlooked 
the little notice on the cover announcing 
I would also be receiving Takeoff, by 
CM. Kombhith, as well. I assumed (hat 
it would be a short story, at most a 
couple of pages long, thrown in as filler 
for good measure. Needless to say, I was 
surprised when I abruptly collided into 
il halfway through the book, mercifully 
putting an end to the misadventures of 
the gunner. After completing 'takeoff, I 
had to wonder whv it had not given 
prime billing over Gunner Cade. Takeoff 
is certainly the superior work, a joy to 
read and well worth the slog through 
the murk of Gunner Cade to get to it. 

Takeoff \s all the more relevant in light 
of NASA's twenty -fifth anniversary. Sci- 
enre-tu'lion literature can just as otten 
be a look into the past as it can be a 
door to the future. The scale of govern- 
ment funding and intervention that 
went into putting a man on the moon 
seemed inconceivable lo interested 
observers like Kornbluth and Heinlein in 
the early 1950s. The latter addressed the 
dilemma of how to carry out such an 
operation without government involve- 
ment in The Man Who Sold the Moon, a 
gem I consider to be his finest work. 
Kornbluth attacked the problem in a 
different way, but the read is just as 
rewarding. 7a keoff deserves a far better 
fate than being shackled with Gunner 
Cade. A 



Into the Void 

by Carl Smith 

The Into the Void module for the STAR 

FRONTIERS® game, in ARES™ Magazine 
issue *15, had some errors/omissions 
that are cleared up below. 

Because of a lack of space, the statis- 
tics for the robot, Violet, were omitted. 
Violet is a V Series Medical Robot with 
arm-like extensions in the upper torso. 
The robot's head has vocal, audio, light/ 
infrared, pressure, and sensor circuits 
for exobiology. A Level 5 Medical robot, 
Violet has the equivalent of the follow- 
ing experience levels: Level 5 Medical, 
Level 4 First Aid, Minor &. Major Sur- 
gerv, Level 3 Control Infection, Cure 
Disease, Level 2 Neutralize Toxins, Ana- 
lyze Kco-svslems, Level 1 Activate 
Freeze Field, and Communication, Violet 
is fitted with a poly -vox, an interface for 
ship computers, and Level 5 security 
programs. Violet is used to dealing with 
Hota Lea, and can be difficult when 
dealing with other members of the crew 
if they improperly input information. 

All ships listed as Salhar assault scouts 
should be Sathar frigates. The correc- 
tion was made in the module, but not in 
the story. 

The grav couches on the XV- 1 were 
incorrectly numbered. They should 
have been numbered from 3-8, with 8 
being Slard's seat. The deck plan key 
and ship map should then have been 
numbered from 1-27, with 5 added to 
each numbered location on the ship and 
in the key starting with area 4 19), Gun- 
nery Control. 

NIGHTMARE HOUSE™ 

game 

By David Marshall 

A few minor glitches in the NIGHTMARE 
HOUSE™ game in ABES'" Magazine "15 
have been identified and are herewith 
cleared up. 

Part 4, Section H. #9: /addition). A 
Hunter can choose to use no Power 
Markers for this purpose only if the 
Hunter's Astral Body occupies or is next 
lo the Power Point he is exorcising, and 
is in a different Power Point than his 
Psyche. 

Part 4, Section H, »10: /clarification). 
The House moves any number of his 



own Power Markers from his section of 
the POWER WHEEL to each Power Point 
being Exorcised, up to the value of the 
Circle of Energy on which the Power 
Point is found, or, if the Entity is heing 
exorcised, up to the value of the Circle 
of Darkness occupied by the Entity. 
Part 4, Section H, #12: /addition to the 
end of the paragraph). If the Hunter is 
trying to Exorcise an Axis Control 
Marker, he may add 1 to the attempt for 
each Exorcised Room Marker already on 
that Axis. 

Part 4, Section H, * 13: /change and 
clarification!. The House rolls one die for 
each Exorcism being performed and 
modifies the result in each case hy add- 
ing the numbers on any Power Markers 
that he moved to the Power Point being 
Exorcised and the number of the Circle 
of Energy in which the Power Point is 
located. Finally, if the Exorcism is 
directed against the Entity, the number 
of Controlled Axes is added lo the die 
roll, hut not the number of the Circle of 
Darkness on which the Entity is located. 

Part 4, Section I, *1: laddition/clarifica- 
tionl. In addition, the Hunter controlling 
any Character in the Crypt, Graveyard, 
Cellar, or Tower places that Character's 
Psyche Marker (whether vulnerable or 
not) in anv Axis Control Point of his 
choice. 

Part G, *3: (rules change). If a Charac- 
ter's Soul is Vulnerable, and he or she 
loses a Physical Haunting, then in addi- 
tion to paving the penalty of Z Power 
Markers to the House, the Character 
rolls one die. If the resulting number is 
greater than that Character's Physical 
Strength Value, the Character dies. The 
House automatically gains immediate 
and permanent possession of the Char- 
acter's Soul with the consequences 
described in Step 8 of the POSSESSION 
PHASE. 

Part 7: /addition to last paragraph). If 
the Hunter was performing the Exor- 
cism in his Astral Body and loses, he 
immediately becomes Lost on the Astral. 

Part 8: /addition to last paragraph). Flip 
the Bodv Marker over to its Possessed 
Side. Any Tools the character possesses 
having a Psychic Strength modifier 
greater than (zero) must be dropped 
into the Room Space that the Character's 
Body Marker occupies. A 




You'll be devastated by the game 



S~ v 




If you haven't seen what the 
GAMMA WORLD game has to 
offer lately, then you don't know 
~~ Gamma World. 

• Revised GAMMA 
WORLD Game 

64 pages of expanded and 
improved rules, with a full 
color map, campaign 
module, dice, and more 
monsters, mutations, and 
tech items than ever 
before. 



• Revised GM Screen 

An invaluable playing aid and r 
beginning GM. 



ini-module for the 



• ENDLESS QUEST™ Book 

Light on Quests Mountain. Pick a Path™ 
to GAMMA WORLD adventure in 
this fully-illustrated book based 
on the GAMMA WORLD 
science- fantasy role-playing game. 

• Modules 



Old favorites designed for use with the First Edition 
rules. 




G W 1 : Legion of Gold. 
GW2: Famine in Far-Go. 



Two new modules for use with the revised 
GAMMA WORLD Game rules. 



GW3: The Cleansing War of Garik Blackhand.* 

GW4: The Mind Masters.' 



* Coming soon. 



^ 



THE VOYAGER SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY SERIES HMiM 





i 



V 



On silent grav sleds, the alien creatures slide through 
the forest, readying their lasers and stunners, drooling 
slightly in anticipation. They choose their first target: a 
littie clapboard house nestled in the woods above town. 
They attack. The sounds of lasers and stunners are 
soon met by cries of fedr and rage. Wild with lust, they 
fail to notice When one human makes it to a car and 
careens away to rouse the citizenry of the small town 
against the alien threat. 

Ugly, slobbering, bug-eyed monsters! They land in 
remote American towns and make off with women, 
BUG-EYED MONSTERS is the new West End release 
by Greg Costtkyan, designer of the successful Creature 
That Ate Sheboygan: & In this game, Greg returns to the 
"Creature 11 genre, bringing a flying saucer with menacing 
monsters to the quiet remote American town of Freedom, 
New Hampshire. 

One player, as the monster, must attempt to kidnap the 
earthttng women (the most beautiful in the universe). 
The other pfayer must rally the citizens of the town to 

• one 22 x 17 game map 

• 160 full-color, back-printed precision die 
cut 5/8 counters. 

• one 8-page rules booklet 

• two dice and fuH-cofor game box (1 
wide bookshelf size box) 






Hp/l 


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Complexity; Low 

Solitaire Suitability: Low 

Players: Two 

Game Scale: Individual Person 

Playing Time: An hour or less for 

experienced gamers 

■t-H 



stop the repulsive invaders and save his womenfolk 
from a fate worse then death. 

A special 'Aliens Kidnap Presidentiaf .Hopeful" scenario 
is also provided. Dwight Eisenhower, campaigning for 
the New Hampshire primary, along with an entourage of 
state troopers and secret service men, is surprised by a 
party of bug-eyed monsters, Will they kidnap America's 
war hero? 

A simpte but elegant game system with clear brief rules 
makes BUG-EYED MONSTERS a good introduction to 
adventure gaming, but its subject and smooth play will 
appeal to the hardcore gamer as well 

THE DESIGNER 

Greg Costtkyan is the designer of nine published 
games, including THE CREATURE THAT ATE 
SHEBOYGAN® SWORDS AND SORCERY® DEATH 
MAZE® RETURN OF THE STAINLESS STEEL RAT,** 
and TRAIL BLAZERS 

The above titles are all the trademarks of TSR Inc, with the exception of 
TRAIL BLAZER whicn is the trademark of Metagaming. 



DUGEYED 



WEST 

END 

GAMES